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US National Security Advisor O'Brien

The visit is aimed to “celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations,” Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang of Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday.

Robert O’Brien will meet leaders of some ministries to “discuss issues in the bilateral ties and those of common concerns,” Hang said.

Earlier on Wednesday, the White House National Security Council tweeted that O’Brien departed on November 19 to visit Vietnam and the Philippines where he would meet leaders in both countries “to reaffirm the strength of our bilateral relationships and to discuss regional security cooperation.”

The visit is believed to expand cooperation on a broad range of security issues.

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White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien has arrived in Hanoi and met with Vietnam’s Minister of Public Security To Lam today [November 21].

The two sides are reported to discuss “joint efforts to combat transnational crime in support of the new US-Mekong Partnership, and to expand cooperation on a broad range of security issues,” the National Security Council (NSC) tweeted.

Tweets by NSC also quoted Robert O’Brien as saying “I am looking forward to constructive discussions with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and other government leaders about the US-Vietnam relationship.”

NSA Robert O’Brien met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to discuss the strength of the U.S. – Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership and our joint efforts to advance a free and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.

Over the past month, Robert O’Brien is the second White House senior official to visit Vietnam. On October 29-30, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Hanoi with an aim to promote the bilateral ties and Washington’s free and open Indo-Pacific strategy.

At the virtual 8th ASEAN-US Summit held in Hanoi on November 14, O’Brien highly appreciated Vietnam’s role in “promoting the ASEAN Centrality” amid “unprecedented challenges” caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. He also praised ASEAN’s efforts in maintaining the supply of medical equipment in the battle against the novel coronavirus.

“ASEAN remains central to President Trump’s vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Department of State said in a statement before the ASEAN-US Summit.

O'Brien is on a visit to Hanoi on November 20-21 before heading for the Philippines. 

In another move, US Mission Vietnam and Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS) conducted a training workshop for police officers from southern provinces on human trafficking and child exploitation in Ho Chi Minh City on November 17-19, the US Embassy in Hanoi said.

US Mission representatives from DHS Homeland Security Investigations, Regional Security Office, and the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs also conducted a similar training for police in Ha Long city in the northern province of Quang Ninh from November 3-5.

Combatting human trafficking and child exploitation is a top priority for US Mission Vietnam and the MPS and an area of expanding cooperation.

US State Secretary Mike Pompeo on his visit to Vietnam late October also met Mr. To Lam.

NSC is the president’s principal forum for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and cabinet officials.