updated 10/24/2006 10:54:10 AM ET 2006-10-24T14:54:10

President Bush will visit Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City, the city once known as Saigon that was the capital of U.S.-backed South Vietnam, during a trip to the communist nation next month, the White House said Monday.

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Bush will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders' forum in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, on Nov. 18 and 19. He will also stop in Singapore and Indonesia during his trip, the White House said.

Bush will meet with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and President Nguyen Minh Triet, an economic reformer who has pushed for his country's membership in the World Trade Organization. The communist nation had hoped to join the trade body before the APEC forum, but it is unlikely that Vietnam will be able to join before December.

Relations between Vietnam and the United States have steadily improved since the normalization of ties between the former foes in 1995, with two-way trade reaching nearly $8 billion last year.

Former Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai visited the White House in June 2005. He is the highest-ranking official from Vietnam to visit the United States since the end of the Vietnam War.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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