Global battle against COVID-19 should be a priority for Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc when he travels to the United States for the United Nations General Assembly session next week, after a week-long layover -end in Cuba. It is still unclear whether he will meet with US President Joe Biden or other Western leaders on the sidelines of the UN session.
Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry announced plans for the visit on Wednesday, saying Phuc will pay an official visit to Cuba September 18-20 before arriving in New York to attend the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly. . It will be in the United States from September 21 to 24.
On his first overseas trip since being elected president by the National Assembly in April, Phuc is expected to present Vietnam’s diplomatic policy to the United Nations. In an interview with Vietnamese media on Thursday, Deputy Foreign Minister Dang Hoang Giang stressed that Phuc would express Vietnam’s desire to work with other countries on preventing COVID-19 and other pressing issues.
Giang said Phuc would meet with other leaders in New York to discuss ways to control the pandemic and accelerate economic recovery. The former prime minister will also meet with major U.S. vaccine makers to seek “the earliest, fastest and most efficient delivery commitments possible to Vietnam, as well as drugs, equipment and medical supplies to prevent the disease. COVID-19 “.
Outside of the pandemic, analysts will be keen to see who Phuc meets on the sidelines of the General Assembly debate, especially since this will be the first US visit by a Vietnamese leader since the 13th National Congress. of the Party at the end of January.
The visit coincides with Biden’s first face-to-face meeting with his fellow QUAD leaders – Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Phuc had phone conversations with Suga on Wednesday, but it’s unclear whether he’ll meet Biden or any of the other QUAD executives in New York.
A source familiar with the matter told VOA that Phuc is expected to meet Korean President Moon Jae In in New York. VOA has also learned that Vietnam is trying to arrange such a meeting with the US side.
Vietnam sees the annual UN session in New York, which attracts dozens of world leaders, as a good opportunity for party-to-party and people-to-people diplomacy. Phuc could also thank the Americans who worked to help Vietnam overcome the impact of the toxic defoliant Agent Orange, which was used extensively by the United States during the Vietnam War.
“Bilateral activities in the United States are expected to make an important contribution to strengthening cooperation between Vietnam and the new United States administration, promote the well-developed comprehensive partnership and be consistent with the common goals and interests of Vietnam and the United States , ”Giang said Thursday.
He said Phuc will also meet with members of the US business community to “brief on Vietnam’s efforts to control and fend off the pandemic and restore production, thereby helping to build confidence and attract more investment from investors. , American companies and partners “.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh received US charge d’affaires Christopher Klein and representatives of US businesses and investors in Hanoi. The Americans spoke to the Vietnamese leader about their operations in Vietnam, describing their problems and making proposals related to supply chains, logistics, work permits and access to vaccines.
Chinh affirmed Vietnam’s commitment to its vaccination campaign and said the country would redouble its efforts to push forward the proposals made by US companies.
Vietnamese state media reported that Chinh also called on the Americans “to strengthen coordination with Vietnamese ministries, sectors and localities in order to effectively implement pandemic containment measures, maintain production activities , to ensure the social well-being of workers and to facilitate investment by Vietnamese companies in the United States ”.