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Barack Obama Finalizing May Visit to Vietnam: Report

In the twilight of his final term, United States President Barack Obama seems to be having a ball. Just last week, he was cracking jokes with Jerry Seinfeld, and in the new year, he'll embark on a world tour which may include Vietnam.

According to the New York Times, Obama's staff are still ironing out final details for a trip to Vietnam in May of this year. In fact, Obama is gearing up for a few pretty intensive months of international travel during his final term, as the president hopes to cement foreign policy ties before leaving office. Included in his travel schedule are two trips to Asia, two to Europe and one to Latin America.

Obama will also welcome ASEAN leaders to California this July, marking the first time these officials will meet on US soil.

Amid political tensions with China, Obama's potential visit to Vietnam would be huge. Evan S. Medeiros, a former senior adviser for Asia to the president, believes this trip, along with additional visits to other Asian nations and the ASEAN meeting in California, would underline the United States' seriousness in regarding Asia as part of its foreign policy plan.

“A trip to Vietnam would be a big deal,” Medeiros told the New York Times. “It would reinforce Vietnam’s strategic options in the face of Chinese coercion.”

Elsewhere in Asia, Obama plans to attend the G7 summit in Japan this May, as well as traveling to China in September for the G20 summit. The president will also visit Laos for the ASEAN summit and celebration of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Laos and the United States.


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