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US-Vietnam Ties Strengthened as Hanoi Ups Diplomatic Status

US-Vietnam Ties Strengthened as Hanoi Ups Diplomatic Status

US-Vietnam Ties Strengthened as Hanoi Ups Diplomatic Status

US-Vietnam Ties Strengthened as Hanoi Ups Diplomatic Status

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  • US President Joe Biden visited Vietnam and secured agreements with Southeast Asian nations on semiconductors and minerals.
  • Vietnam elevated the US to the highest diplomatic status, placing it on par with Russia and China.
  • Vietnam is navigating its historical ties with Russia amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and is reportedly negotiating an $8 billion credit facility with Russia to purchase heavy weaponry.
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US President Joe Biden arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam, following a successful G20 summit in New Delhi. During his visit, he secured agreements with Southeast Asian nations on semiconductors and minerals, bolstering global supply chains to reduce reliance on China.

In a surprising move, Vietnam elevated the United States to the highest diplomatic status, placing it on par with Russia and China, seen as a strategic move to counterbalance China’s influence in the region. This elevation aligns with President Biden’s efforts to strengthen ties with Vietnam, which he views as a crucial ally.

This diplomatic upgrade also benefits India, a member of the Quad alliance (comprising the US, Australia, India, and Japan), aimed at curbing China’s dominance in the South China Sea. India has substantial investments in Vietnam, particularly through its state-run ONGC, involved in oil exploration and exports.

The United States has been advocating for this diplomatic elevation over the past few months, recognizing Vietnam, with which it once had a prolonged and unsuccessful conflict during the Cold War era, as a potential manufacturing hub to diversify global supply chains amidst tensions with China.

Jon Finer, the US Principal Deputy National Security Adviser, mentioned that this upgrade would encompass security aspects. This announcement was made as President Biden departed from Delhi after the G20 summit.

While President Biden couldn’t achieve his primary goal regarding Ukraine at the summit, he expressed satisfaction with the final wording of the statement, emphasizing that no country should use military force to seize territories from another sovereign nation.

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Nearly five decades after a divisive war in which America lost many of its youth, President Biden received a warm welcome at Hanoi airport, complete with an official ceremony by the ruling Communist Party, symbolizing the progress in US-Vietnam relations.

However, political analysts suggest that Vietnam faces challenges in balancing its relations between Washington and Beijing, especially as it seeks a stronger foothold in the competitive global economy.

In the coming days or weeks, top Chinese officials, including President Xi Jinping, are expected to visit Vietnam, highlighting Hanoi’s commitment to maintaining good relations with all major powers.

These visits occur as Vietnam navigates its historical ties with Russia amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Vietnam is reportedly negotiating an $8 billion credit facility with Russia to purchase heavy weaponry, a move that could potentially trigger US sanctions.

In response, Vietnam is engaging in parallel talks with various arms suppliers, including the US, to diversify its sources of military equipment. The US aims to reduce Vietnam’s reliance on Moscow and enhance its strategic partnership.

Additionally, a potential US-Vietnam agreement on sourcing rare earth minerals may be in the works, further enhancing critical mineral supply chains, as Vietnam boasts the world’s second-largest deposits after China.

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Nevertheless, concerns persist over human rights issues in Vietnam, with activists facing imprisonment and limitations on freedom of expression, straining relations between Hanoi and Washington. Vietnam may seek to address these concerns through diplomatic gestures in the future.

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