Key Trump Aide Taking China Message on Vietnam, Philippines Trip

U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien is traveling to Vietnam and the Philippines this week as the Trump administration continues its efforts to counter China and deepen ties with the Southeast Asian nations, according to two U.S. officials.

O’Brien has meetings with Vietnamese security officials in Hanoi on Saturday and will give remarks to students at Vietnam National University on Sunday.

Key Trump Aide Taking China Message on Vietnam, Philippines Trip

O’Brien’s visit will make him the second high-level Trump administration official to to travel to Vietnam in the past month. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo was there in late October to discuss the U.S. strategy toward the Indo-Pacific region, just days after Vietnam freed an American who had been jailed since 2019.

U.S.-Vietnam ties have improved notably in recent years. U.S. Navy ships now do port calls in Vietnam, and the two nations in July jointly protested Chinese military drills in the South China Sea. Nevertheless, Vietnam was part of a 15-nation trade deal reached this week that includes China, Japan and South Korea -- but not the U.S.

After visiting Vietnam, O’Brien will travel to the Philippines on Sunday evening and Monday, laying a wreath at an American cemetery and meeting with national security officials in Manila, the officials said.

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