President Biden to Strengthen US-Vietnam Ties in Bid to Counter China’s Influence

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President Biden to Strengthen US-Vietnam Ties in Bid to Counter China's Influence
US-Vietnam Relations Get Boost as President Biden Plans Hanoi Visit

In a significant diplomatic move, President Joe Biden revealed on Tuesday his plans to visit Vietnam in the near future, with the aim of bolstering the bilateral relationship between the United States and Vietnam. The announcement comes as part of a broader effort by the Biden administration to enhance ties with Hanoi and counteract the growing influence of China in the region.

During a speech delivered in New Mexico, President Biden emphasized the intention behind his impending visit, stating, “I’m going to be going to Vietnam shortly because Vietnam wants to change our relationship and become a partner.” He went on to elaborate on the global dynamics, explaining that the world is undergoing transformative changes, and this is an opportune moment for both nations to reshape their interactions.

The relationship between the United States and Vietnam has seen a notable upswing in recent times, particularly in terms of trade connections. Both nations share mutual concerns regarding China’s escalating dominance in the region. The simmering tensions between Beijing and various Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam and the Philippines, over China’s extensive maritime claims in the South China Sea, have also propelled the urgency to strengthen collaboration between the US and Vietnam.

The commitment to elevate diplomatic ties was underscored in April when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a stopover in Vietnam en route to a meeting with the Group of Seven (G7) foreign ministers in Japan. During his visit, Blinken expressed the sentiments of the US government, stating, “We think this is an auspicious time to elevate our existing partnership.” He further highlighted the foundation of cooperation established over the past decade through the comprehensive partnership between the two nations.

Blinken’s presence also marked the groundbreaking ceremony for a new US embassy in Hanoi, symbolizing the physical embodiment of the deepening relationship. The diplomatic efforts were preceded by a conversation in March between President Biden and Nguyen Phu Trong, the leader of Vietnam’s Communist Party.

However, the issue of human rights remains a source of contention between the two nations. Blinken emphasized the importance of progress on human rights for the Vietnamese people and its crucial role in unlocking their full potential.

The South China Sea, a long-standing hotspot in China-Vietnam tensions, is viewed as a volatile area with the potential for inadvertent conflicts. There is an underlying fear that miscalculations or accidents could escalate into a military confrontation. While analysts suggest that Vietnam may hesitate to further escalate relations with the United States to avoid upsetting Beijing – a significant economic partner – it’s worth noting that Washington does not have territorial claims over the South China Sea.

The United States has consistently conducted patrols in the region to ensure what it terms “freedom of navigation” in the sea, which serves as a crucial artery for trillions of dollars in global trade annually. It’s worth mentioning that Washington has also been engaged in improving relations with China, as evidenced by Blinken’s visit to China in June, following a canceled trip earlier in the year due to an alleged incident involving a Chinese spy balloon.

President Biden’s upcoming visit to Vietnam holds the promise of fortifying the alliance between the two nations, countering China’s influence, and fostering mutual cooperation in an increasingly complex geopolitical landscape.

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