US, Vietnam to elevate ties during Biden visit, with eye on China

By Nandita Bose and Francesco Guarascio

NEW DELHI/HANOI (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden visits Vietnam’s capital metropolis Sunday, the place the 2 nations are anticipated to declare themselves strategic companions, as the USA seeks to push provide chains from China and each nations to attempt to counter Beijing’s army and diplomatic affect in Asia.

Biden will arrive on the Presidential Palace Sunday afternoon for a proper welcome from Communist Occasion Normal Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnam’s strongest chief, then journey to the Occasion headquarters the place the 2 will meet after which give public remarks.

The go to comes as commerce and funding ties between the 2 nations are rising and a long-simmering territorial dispute between Vietnam and China heats up within the South China Sea. Vietnam has named 4 different nations “complete strategic companions,” the designation anticipated for the U.S.: China, Russia, India and South Korea.

Highlighting Vietnam’s rising significance as a “friendshoring” vacation spot for U.S. expertise firms, on Monday, executives from Google, Intel, Amkor, Marvell, GlobalFoundries and Boeing are anticipated to satisfy Vietnamese tech executives and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Hanoi.

Vietnam’s exports to the U.S. rose 13.6% final yr to $109.39 billion, led by shipments of clothes, sneakers, smartphones, electronics and picket furnishings.

Biden’s go to comes practically 50 years after the top of the deeply unpopular Vietnam Conflict between the Soviet-backed Communist authorities of North Vietnam and South Vietnam’s U.S.-backed regime.

It represents “a outstanding step within the strengthening of our diplomatic ties,” and displays the “main position” Vietnam will play within the US partnership within the Indo Pacific, US nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan advised reporters this week.

“For many years, the US and Vietnam have labored to beat a painful shared legacy of the Vietnam Conflict, working hand in hand to advertise reconciliation, with our service members and our veterans lighting the best way,” he stated.

Washington has been pushing to raise ties with Hanoi to a “strategic” partnership from one which for the previous decade has been referred to as “complete.” Vietnam has been cautious given the danger of antagonizing China, an enormous neighbor that provides key inputs for its important export commerce, or Russia, one other conventional companion.

Vietnam is speaking with a number of different nations to improve and increase its principally Russian-made arsenal, together with the Czech Republic, and has not too long ago engaged in a number of high-level defence conferences with prime Russian officers.

Final week, a US authorities fee accused Vietnam of backsliding on non secular freedoms, saying the nation was on a “related trajectory to China by way of its regulation and management of faith.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose, Khanh Vu, Francesco Guarascio; Enhancing by Heather Timmons and Chizu Nomiyama)

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