The president of United States, Joe Bidenand the highest Vietnamese authority, Nguyen Phu Trongtoday signed an agreement that elevates the bilateral relationship to a strategic partnership, which represents further progress in the US plan to counteract China’s influence.
“This new status will be a force for prosperity and security in the region, one of the most important regions in the world”Biden announced at a press conference in Hanoi after meeting with Nguyen Phu, who also serves as general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam.
Biden framed this strengthening of relations with Vietnam in the network of alliances that he has been weaving since he arrived at the White House in January 2021, such as the revitalization of the Quad defense alliance and the creation in 2021 of the Aukus tripartite pact (acronym in English from Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States).
In practice, the agreement seeks to boost semiconductor production in Vietnam, which has already established itself as a leading regional manufacturing center and which some American companies, such as Intel, see as an alternative production destination to China.
Biden believes chip manufacturing is a key issue for the U.S. economy and security, especially given China’s strong market dominance and the possibility that supply chains could be disrupted again, as was the case during the pandemic. .
Furthermore, the agreement consolidates a rapprochement that had been brewing for years and roots it within the Vietnamese system.
As explained by Jon Finer, one of Biden’s foreign policy advisors, today’s agreement “it goes beyond words” and, in a system like the Vietnamese one, “It is a signal to your entire government and your entire bureaucracy about the depth of cooperation and alignment.” with Washington.
Vietnam’s “Bamboo Diplomacy”
However, the signing does not mean that Hanoi will become an unwavering ally of Washington, since Vietnam maintains a foreign policy of balance between the great powers known as “bamboo diplomacy”which illustrates how the Asian country swings to one side or the other depending on the circumstances.
In fact, Vietnam has had an agreement since 1988 “comprehensive cooperative strategic partnership” with China, and in 2001 reached a similar agreement with Russia.
Relations between Vietnam and the United States have historically been more difficult, although the two countries normalized diplomatic relations in 1994, leaving behind the Vietnam War (1955-1975), which pitted the communist government of North Vietnam, backed by the Soviet Union. , with the South Vietnamese regime, supported by the United States.
Furthermore, in 2013, with Barack Obama As US president, both countries signed a comprehensive partnership agreement, which boosted cooperation in areas such as public health and the fight against transactional crime.
This new chapter in relations between the US and Vietnam, which have become strategic partners, occurs at a time when both countries are experiencing growing tensions with China.
Specifically, Biden believes that China is the United States’ biggest competitor, while Vietnam disputes with China the sovereignty of two archipelagos in the South China Sea, which sometimes causes incidents between Vietnamese fishing vessels and Chinese patrol boats.
With information from EFE
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