The Vietnamese prime minister Phan Van Khai yesterday became his country's first communist leader to visit the White House, reports the Guardian. In addition to Khai, Vietnam's other top leaders include President Tran Duc Luong and Nong Duc Manh, the head of the ruling Communist Party. Vietnam’s prime minister and George W. Bush talked Tuesday about Vietnam's desire to join the World Trade Organization, business issues, human rights. President George Bush announced that he supported Vietnam's bid to join the World Trade Organisation. Khai said, cited by AP: "We believe that America can find in Vietnam a potential cooperation partner. We have a population of 80 million people, which means a huge market for American businesses. And these people also very hardworking, creative and dynamic. And they are now working very hard to achieve the goal of building Vietnam into a strong country with wealthy people and a democratic and advanced society." Khai's talk with Bush is part of a weeklong visit to the United States where he is meeting with business leaders on both coasts. Khai is ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange later this week - evidence of Vietnam's economic gains over the years. In the 10 years since diplomatic ties were restored after the war, the US has become Vietnam's top trading partner. The US has also been seeking closer ties in an attempt to blunt China's increasing influence in the region, informs the Guardian.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea
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