US President George W. Bush said on Tuesday that he would visit Vietnam in 2006 as he met Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai at the White House.
"The prime minister graciously invited me to Vietnam. I will be going in 2006," when Vietnam hosts the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, Bush told reporters after talks with Phan Van Khai.
Phan Van Khai, 71, is the first Vietnamese prime minister to visit Washington since the end of its war against the US 30 years ago.
Bush said that he exchanged views with Khai on bilateral economic relations, Vietnam's admittance to the World Trade Organization (WTO), security issues and human right issues.
For his part, Khai said that he and Bush "agreed that there remain differences between our two countries due to the different conditions that we have, the different histories and cultures."
"But we also agreed that we should work together, through constructive dialogues based upon mutual respect to reduce the distances, in order to improve our bilateral relations," said the prime minister.
On the topic of Vietnam's inclusion in the WTO, the Prime Minister said, "We agreed that Vietnam's accession will benefit both countries." Vietnam and the US have decided to continue with their bilateral negotiations to win an early entry for the country into the world trade group, he added.
Khai arrived in Seattle Sunday morning and stopped at Boeing's plant in Renton, south of Seattle, to oversee the purchase of four 787 airliners by state-owned Vietnam Airlines.
Washington strongly backs Vietnam's accession to the World Trade Organization, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Monday.