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.
The president is following his predecessors, George W. Bush and Bill ClintonBill ClintonTrump asks why Clintons' ties to Russia aren't under investigation Playing hot potato and musical chairs with healthcare We must act now and pass the American Health Care Act 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.