HANOI – United States President Donald Trump and his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Phu Trong, oversaw on Wednesday the sale of 100 Boeing 737-Max aircraft to the Vietnamese airline VietJet and signed other economic agreements in the Presidential Palace in Hanoi.
A US official told reporters that Trump and Nguyen signed deals worth $21 billion, which also included VietJet’s purchase of 215 engines manufactured by American companies CFM and General Electric.
Another Vietnamese airline, Bamboo Airways, is set to acquire 10 Boeing 787-9 planes while the state owned Vietnam Airlines signed agreements to purchase services and technology worth $100 million from Sabre Corporation.
The US official said the agreements would support more than 83,000 jobs in the US and provide better security and reliability to Vietnamese international travelers.
Boeing president and CEO Kevin McAllister and VietJet President Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, one of the most powerful women in Vietnam, were present during the signing.
Before inking the deals, Trump congratulated Vietnam for its economic performance and said the country had done very well in a short time.
The US president praised himself for reducing the US trade deficit with Vietnam and urged Hanoi to sign more trade agreements, adding that the US had the “best military equipment” in the world.
Trump, who arrived in Hanoi on Tuesday for his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, used Vietnam as an example for the economic prosperity North Korea could achieve after denuclearization.
“Vietnam is thriving like few places on earth. North Korea would be the same, and very quickly, if it would denuclearize,” Trump tweeted early Wednesday.
After the agreements were signed, Trump was received in the Vietnamese government headquarters by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and the two leaders had a working lunch ahead of Trump’s summit with Kim.
The summit was set to begin Wednesday at 6:30 pm with a greeting between the American and North Korean leaders in Hanoi’s luxurious French colonial-style hotel Sofitel Legend Metropole.
Trump and Kim will have a one-on-one meeting for 20 minutes before participating in a working dinner, accompanied by four of their advisors.
The US side will include Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Acting White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, while it is believed that one of Kim’s advisors will be the North Korean intelligence head, Kim Yong-chol.
The White House has reserved an hour and 35 minutes for dinner, which will kick start the summit whose main agenda is scheduled for Thursday.