U.S. President Barack Obama visits Vietnam's commercial hub and touts the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, widely expected to benefit Vietnam which already has $45 billion in annual trade with the U.S. Mana Rabiee reports.
(nats pagoda visit) President Obama's continuing the theme of peace and friendship between former enemies. He visited a Buddhist pagoda in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday -- (bells ringing) -- the second day of his Vietnam trip, a visit aimed at healing old wounds, and building new relationships. (Obama exits temple) It was fitting, too, that Obama should now be in Vietnam's commercial hub -- where he's expected to emphasize the benefits of the TPP trade agreement. U.S.-Vietnam trade has already swelled to 45 BILLION dollars a year and Vietnam is seen as the biggest beneficiary of the proposed trade deal....and Obama's aware he still needs to sell it to opponents at home (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "I support TPP because of its important strategic benefits. Vietnam will be less dependent on any one trading partner and enjoy broader ties with more partners including the United States." Obama also prodded Beijing on the South China Sea -- without actually naming China. The U.S. accuses it of militarizing the disputed waters and putting freedom of navigation there at risk. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "Nations are sovereign, and no mater how large or small a nation may be, its sovereignty should be respected, and its territory should not be violated. Big nations should not bully smaller ones. Disputes should be resolved peacefully." (Obama's walk about) Obama's already said he's scrapping an arms embargo with Vietnam, clearing the biggest hurdle between the two countries --- as the former adversaries come together in their shared concern over China's military build up in the region.