|National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung. — Photo tuoitre.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung left Ha Noi on Saturday for an official visit to the US from September 3 to 9.
Before the visit, he will attend the fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament running from today to Wednesday in New York.
These activities come at the invitation of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) President Saber Chowdhury; Patrick Leahy, the Senate's president pro tempore emeritus; Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner; and Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The largest-ever World Conference of Speakers of Parliament is expected to attract more than 150 leaders of parliaments, Senates and Houses of Representatives from more than 140 countries, as part of activities for the UN Summit slated for September 25 to 27.
During the event, the Vietnamese NA chairman will deliver a speech at a general session, chair a thematic session on sustainable development, and meet with other parliamentary leaders one-on-one.
The Vietnamese officials' attendance will show the National Assembly's role in bilateral and multilateral parliamentary channels with its active and responsible involvement in IPU conferences and forums, following Viet Nam's successful hosting of IPU-132.
Viet Nam and the US established their comprehensive partnership during President Truong Tan Sang's visit to the US in July 2013.
Since 2005, the US has been the largest importer of Vietnamese commodities, spending US$36.6 billion in 2014. Two-way trade between the two nations topped 20 per cent over the past three years with trade surplus in favour of Viet Nam.
The US's direct capital inflows into Viet Nam remain modest, approaching $11 billion and ranking seventh.
In 2014, more than 16,000 Vietnamese students and trainees sought education in the US, becoming the largest student community among Southeast Asian nations and the eighth largest globally.
Viet Nam has also approved the building of the US's Fulbright University. The US, for its part, annually grants scholarships to Vietnamese students through Fulbright and the Viet Nam Education Foundation.
More than 400,000 Americans travelled to Viet Nam in 2014, making the country Viet Nam's fourth largest tourism market behind China, South Korea and Japan, contributing $500 million to the country's tourism industry revenue.
In 2013, Viet Nam and the US signed a new agreement on health and medical science. Viet Nam already received $67.9 million in cash and $25.5 million in kind from the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief initiative.
Under a joint statement reached in July 2013, the US committed its support to those living with disabilities in Viet Nam irrespective of causes.
On the Agent Orange/dioxin recovery efforts, the US approved up to $84 million for the cleanup of Agent-Orange-contaminated areas around Da Nang airport and $11 million for health care designed for the handicapped, including AO/dioxin victims for the 2014-2016 period.
In December 2013, the two nations signed a Memorandum of Understanding on finding leftover bomb and mine ordnances. The US's total aid for Viet Nam in this cause through non-governmental organisations amounted to $104 million between 1993 and 2005.
When it comes to science and technology, the two countries signed an agreement on using nuclear power for peaceful purposes. The US's National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Viet Nam Academy of Science and Technology inked a joint statement on outer space research co-operation.
Close mutual support has continued at regional forums, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Community, the ASEAN Regional Forum, the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting and the East Asia Summit.
Ties between the two legislatures have been strengthened through visit exchanges by leaders and senior officials.
The National Assembly established the Viet Nam-US Friendship Parliamentarians' Group in 2004, which is currently headed by NA Law Committee Chairman Phan Trung Ly for the 2011-2016 tenure.
The US-Viet Nam Congressional Caucus, founded in 2004, was chaired by Congressmen Rob Simmons and Lane Evans for the 2004-2006 tenure, and Earl Blumenauer and Russ Carnahan for the 2006-2007 tenure.
During the visit, which coincides with the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties, the Vietnamese leader is scheduled to engage in bilateral activities with US lawmakers. He will also meet with World Bank President Jim Yong-kim, several US businesses and the Vietnamese community in the host country. — VNS