Obama to visit Vietnam in May

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President Obama will make his first visit to Vietnam as president in May after attending the Group of Seven summit in Japan, the White House said Monday.

Obama accepted an invitation from Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on the sidelines of a summit meeting with Southeast Asian leaders at the Sunnylands resort in Rancho Mirage, Calif., according to a White House official.

The president is following his predecessors, George W. Bush and Bill ClintonBill ClintonGennifer Flowers says she will attend debate Trump threatens to bring Gennifer Flowers to debate Michelle Obama, Biden, Bill Clinton to hit post-debate campaign trail MORE, who visited the former U.S. adversary. Both countries restored formal diplomatic relations in 1995 after years of hostility following the Vietnam War.

Obama is trying to build closer relations with Vietnam as part of his administration’s so-called "pivot to Asia." The country is part of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. The two leaders also discussed maritime security in light of China’s efforts to expand its territory in the South China Sea.

The head of Vietnam’s Communist Party, Nguyen Phu Trong, first extended an invitation to Obama to visit during a meeting at the White House last summer.