Fwd: Supplemental travel pool report - bilat with General Secretary of Vietnamese Communist Party

Begin forwarded message:

From: Edward-Isaac Dovere >
Date: May 23, 2016 at 5:49:05 PM GMT+7
To: Desiree Barnes >
Subject: Supplemental travel pool report - bilat with General Secretary of Vietnamese Communist Party

Pool was rushed into the room in the Communist Party headquarters where POTUS was meeting with the General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong of the Communist Party of Vietnam, his third of the day, after meeting with the president and prime minister.

They sat in a wide room, with a red-and-yellow designed carpet, a very large gold bust of Ho Chi Minh behind them with a display of white and pink flowers. More of those flowers were on the table behind them. They sat between what appeared to be two manicured trees on either side of them.

On the American side, the delegation included Secretary of State John Kerry, national security adviser Susan Rice and US Trade Representative Mike Froman.

Nguyen Phu Trong spoke first, in Vietnamese, through a translator. The translator's voice was easier to hear, as she was on a microphone.

"Mr. President, it is a great honor and pleasure to me to meet you again and a pleasure for me to welcome you to the headquarters of the Communist Party on the occasion of your first visit to Vietnam"

"once again I'd like to extend to you and the US government my thanks for the warm reception that the US government and yourself gave to me personally in my visit to the United States in July 2015.

"the visit has left me with deep impressions about the beautiful landscape, the people and ... especially the successful outcomes of the meeting between you and me in the Oval Office in the White House

"We highly appreciate and welcome the visit of the president to Vietnam. This is your very first visit to our country, I believe it a very historic visit which will open up a new chapter"

"Mr. President, I would like to know your impression, your first impression of our country

POTUS responded at some length, also pausing at points for his translator to keep pace. Some quotes that could be heard:

"I want to thank you for the excellent hospitality you've provided to me and to our delegation. I have to say my impressions are excellent, the people are warm and welcoming to us"

"underscores why I think it's so important for us to continue" developing the relationship with Vietnam

"As you noted, we had a very instructive meeting in the Oval Office ... that served as additional impetus for what can be done," mentioning arms, people to people contact and more.

Nguyen Phu Trong then spoke briefly again, and the pool-along with many rowdy Vietnamese press still and video cameras-was ushered out.

While waiting in the hold, pool saw POTUS walk into the lobby after the bilateral ended, continuing to speak with Vietnamese officials. He posed for photos with many of the tea ladies and other staff from the headquarters, several of whom captured the moments themselves with selfies on their phones.

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Edward-Isaac Dovere

Senior White House reporter

POLITICO

@IsaacDovere

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