The President of the United States, Joe Biden, highlighted this Sunday during his visit to Vietnam deepening cooperation with this country bordering Chinaa trip that is expected to be focused on the trade of semiconductors and rare earths.
Biden arrived this Sunday from India, after participating in the G20 summit, and was received with pomp by Nguyen Phu Trong, the general secretary of Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party.
The purpose of the visit is to sign an “enlarged strategic alliance” which is the highest level of diplomatic cooperation between Vietnam, a country where the United States deployed its troops in a war that ended in 1975.
“This may be the beginning of an era of even greater cooperation”Biden said in his meeting with Nguyen Phu Trong.
“Vietnam and the United States are key partners at what I would say is a very critical moment,” said the US president, who was greeted by a band of soldiers in full regalia and a crowd of schoolchildren waving the flags of both countries.
The main objective of Biden’s visit to Vietnam is the same as that of the G20 summit: rally support in the face of China’s growing influence.
Washington and Hanoi have reached an agreement on the production of semiconductors in Vietnam “for the benefit of the American industry” and with the aim of making it less dependent on the Asian giantaccording to a statement released on Sunday.
The United States considers that Vietnam – a producer of technology that also has reserves of rare earths – is important in its strategy of reduce its dependence on China, after years of supply chain disruptions and tensions with Beijing.
The Vietnamese leader praised Biden upon his arrival at the presidential palace in Hanoi and told him: “You have not aged a day, in fact, I would say that you look better than ever.”
The US president – who is 80 years old, is running for re-election in 2024 and is often criticized for his age – responded with a smile.
Vietnam seeks to give the impression that it takes sides with neither the United States nor China, but shares Washington’s concern over Beijing’s claims in the disputed South China Sea, where Hanoi also has claims.
Russia and war
Before Biden’s arrival, the newsper The New York Times reported that Vietnam is negotiating secretly a new arms deal with Russia, despite the sanctions imposed by Western powers on Moscow.
Finer referred this Sunday to the relations of military cooperation that Russia and Vietnam have maintained for decades.
According to the senior US official there is “growing discontent among the Vietnamese” regarding this relationship and he stated that Washington and its allies can help Hanoi to “diversify its partners”.
On Monday, the US president will meet with his counterpart, Vo Van Thuong, and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.
Biden said he raised the issue of human rights in his meeting with Trong and pledged to continue with a “frank dialogue.”
The president arrives in Vietnam a few days after the United States Government Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) criticized that in this country there are “persistent” violations in this matter and that the situation seems to be getting worse.
Biden – who is critical of China on human rights – is largely silent on the situation in Vietnam and activists fear he will not press the issue during the visit.
To visit Hanoi, Biden had to leave the G20 summit before the end, whose leaders agreed on a joint declaration that avoided the divisions over the war in Ukraine and the fight against climate change.
Biden’s agenda includes a visit to the memorial of his friend John McCain, the late Republican senator who fought during the Vietnam War, was ctured and endured a long ctivity, but later helped rebuild relations between the two countries.