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Biden announces plans to strengthen ties with Vietnam, countering China’s influence

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US President Joe Biden revealed his intention to visit Vietnam in the near future. During a speech in New Mexico, Biden expressed his commitment to evolving the bilateral relationship, marking a strategic move for both countries.

“”I’m set to travel to Vietnam shortly because Vietnam is eager to reshape our partnership and foster closer ties,” Biden affirmed””.

He underscored the significance of seizing the current global shifts to alter the dynamics between nations. Highlighting the escalating trade connections between the United States and Vietnam, Biden emphasized that both countries share apprehensions about China’s escalating power in the region”.

Tensions have been on the rise for some time between Beijing and Southeast Asian nations, particularly Vietnam and the Philippines, due to China’s sweeping territorial claims in the South China Sea.

The commitment to bolster ties was solidified in April when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken paused in Vietnam en route to a Group of Seven (G7) foreign ministers’ meeting in Japan. Blinken, during his visit with Vietnamese leaders, commented, “We perceive this as an opportune moment to elevate our existing partnership. Over the last decade, our comprehensive partnership has laid a robust foundation for cooperation across various domains. Consequently, we view this as an optimal juncture to expand our collaboration.”

“As part of this diplomatic advancement, Blinken took part in a groundbreaking ceremony for a new US embassy in Hanoi. The overture to enhance relations also manifested in a conversation between President Biden and Nguyen Phu Trong, the head of Vietnam’s ruling Communist party, earlier in March”.

“However, the United States hasn’t overlooked human rights concerns in Vietnam. Blinken expressed the importance of progressing human rights to unlock the full potential of the Vietnamese people”.

“While the South China Sea has long been a focal point of tension between China and Vietnam, experts are cautious of potential military conflict resulting from miscalculations or accidents in the region. Analysts suggest that Vietnam might approach strengthening relations with the United States with caution, as not to ruffle feathers with its economic partner, Beijing, despite their differing claims in the South China Sea”.

“It’s noteworthy that the United States, although lacking territorial claims in the waters, continues to conduct patrols in the South China Sea to ensure “freedom of navigation,” crucial for trillions of dollars in global trade annually. In recent months, the US administration has also pursued better relations with China, evidenced by Blinken’s visit in June, aimed at mending ties after a previous visit was derailed due to an incident involving an alleged Chinese spy balloon shot down by a US warplane”.

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