U.S. President Donald Trump
will attend three summits in Asia in November, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC
) gathering in Vietnam, Vice President Mike Pence said.
Pence made the announcement in Jakarta during a visit to the headquarters of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Jakarta, Indonesia on Thursday, international media reported. The information has been also posted on the vice President’s Twitter page.
President Trump will also go to the U.S.-ASEAN and East Asia meetings in the Philippines.
Former president Barack Obama, who had championed a 'pivot to Asia', was a frequent visitor to the Asia-Pacific as he sought to refocus US foreign policy on the region to counter growing Chinese influence.
Trump's decision to attend the meetings could come as a surprise to some, given his fiery “America first” rhetoric and his decision to abandon a Pacific trade pact which was the economic plank of the pivot, AFP reported.
The president's attendance at the meetings was “a sign, I hope to all, of our firm and unwavering commitment to build on the strong foundations that we already share,” Pence added.
The East Asia Summit groups 18 countries including ASEAN member states, the US, Russia and China. APEC brings together 21 member states from either side of the Pacific.
After winning the presidential election, President Trump last December spoke to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc
by phone and expressed his wish to strengthen the warming ties between the two countries.
In late February, Trump sent a letter to President Tran Dai Quang suggesting he was interested in promoting bilateral cooperation.
Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh on Thursday began a two-day visit to the U.S. at a time when Hanoi is trying to deepen ties with Washington in the face of a tempestuous Trump presidency, VnExpress International reported.