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Vietnam Formally Invites Trump to Da Nang APEC Summit

Last Friday, Vietnam officially invited US President Donald Trump to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Da Nang this November.

According to VnExpress, the invitation was presented during an event at the Vietnamese embassy in Washington, D.C., where over 70 American officials gathered to discuss American diplomatic policies toward Asia – and Vietnam in particular – under the new administration.

There is no word yet on whether or not Trump will attend, according to the news source, however Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has already been in contact with the American leader, speaking to Trump over the phone last December about ways in which the two countries could promote economic ties, trade and investment.

Looking ahead to the APEC Summit, experts are unsure what to expect with the new administration. Murray Hiebert, an expert on Southeast Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told VnExpress that Trump “made clear during the election campaign that he didn’t think much of international institutions such as NATO”.

However, Hiebert believes Trump might be keen on meeting with APEC business leaders, though he did caution that “tedious talks about increased market access and the protection of intellectual properties rights” might keep him home.

While former President Barack Obama’s visit was a much-anticipated event in Vietnam, Zachary Abuza, a Southeast Asia analyst at the National War College, told VnExpress the new leader was not likely to receive the same warm welcome.

"I doubt that the Vietnamese public would be as enthralled with a visit by President Trump," the news outlet quoted Abuza as saying.

"The thing about Obama was he remained committed to developing regimes and norms, and for providing collective goods in the region,” Abuza continued. “I just don't see Trump being that strategic. It is all short-term transactions for him.”

As the host of this year’s summit, Vietnam is proposing APEC 2017’s Policy Priorities, which include promoting sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth; deepening regional economic integration; strengthening micro, small and medium enterprises’ competitiveness and innovation in the digital age; and enhancing food security and sustainable agriculture in response to climate change.

[Photo via Wired]

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