SOURCE: The White House
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
May 11, 2016
Press Briefing by Press Secretary Josh Earnest, 5/11/16
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
Q On Vietnam, President Obama will visit Vietnam for the first time and the second visit of a sitting President, I believe. Is there any significant meaning in terms of reconciliation between the two countries, the United States and Vietnam? In Ho Chi Minh City, what’s the plan? What is the plan for the President to visit, or what kind of message is the President going to deliver in Saigon?
MR. EARNEST: The President will spend a couple of days in Vietnam. It is his first trip to Vietnam as President of the United States, and the President will spend time with the kind of bilateral program that you’ve come to expect when you see the President travel overseas. He’ll meet with high-ranking government officials and spend time talking about the importance of our bilateral relationship. And I’m confident that will touch on aspects of our security relationship but also aspects of our economic relationship as well.
Vietnam has been a part of the TPP negotiations, and the prospect of Vietnam taking steps to raise labor, human rights, and environmental standards, and give U.S. businesses more access to a rapidly growing Vietnamese middle class is a good thing. And the President will certainly continue to assure the government and the people of Vietnam that the United States is serious about implementing the TPP agreement. We recognize that it would have a positive impact on the U.S. economy and U.S. strategic interests in the region. We also recognize it would have a positive impact on Vietnam’s economy and on Vietnam’s national security as well. We would welcome the deeper ties that would result from an enhanced economic relationship.
Q What about the maritime security cooperation?
MR. EARNEST: I’m confident that will be a part of the discussion, too. Obviously maritime security is quite relevant to the day-to-day security concerns of the Vietnamese government. And obviously the United States would like to see those maritime security questions, particularly as it relates to claims on land features in the South China Sea, be resolved through diplomacy and through established international rules of order. So we certainly will support that effort, and the President will lend his continued support to that in the context of this visit.