Washington, DC [US]: The United States and Vietnam are boosting their economic and tech ties as China is increasing its assertiveness in the region, The Washington Post reported.
In a bid to make stronger relations with Vietnam, US President Joe Biden will make a state visit to the country and is also expected to announce a deal to strengthen the economic ties between the two countries.
Vietnam is also trying to make the ties between the two countries stronger. The establishment of a “comprehensive strategic partnership” will give the United States a diplomatic status that Vietnam has so far reserved for only a handful of other countries: China, Russia, India and South Korea.
This move showed that Vietnam is willing to risk angering China but sees the move toward the US as necessary given how aggressively China is flexing its military muscle in the region, The Washington Post reported citing analysts.
“If you have the United States on the same pedestal as China, that is saying a lot to Beijing, but also to the rest of the region and the world,” said Derek Grossman, a senior defence analyst at Rand Corp and former US intelligence officer.
“That’s saying the US-Vietnam relationship has come a long way since 1995,” when the two countries normalized relations.
The agreement, proposed by the Biden administration in recent months, flows from a US strategy to build economic and security partnerships in the Indo-Pacific that can serve as a bulwark against Chinese economic and military coercion.
The agreement is expected to lead to greater economic activity between the two countries, as the United States seeks to diversify its manufacturing supply chains away from China and as Vietnam aspires to develop advanced technologies.
American semiconductor firms have expressed “a willingness to support them in that ambition,” said a senior Biden administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the agreement has not yet been announced.
The United States is now the top destination for exports from Vietnam, which has made a dramatic economic transformation over the past two decades, reported The Washington Post.
VinFast, the country’s leading electric vehicle manufacturer, is now selling its sleek SUVs in California and recently held an initial public offering of its stock on the Nasdaq.
American companies have likewise shown a willingness to do business: Apple and Google suppliers have invested heavily in new factories in Vietnam, and a major announcement is expected from Boeing, which said earlier this year that it intends to expand its footprint in the country.
The upgrade in relations also stands to boost defence and security cooperation between the United States and Vietnam.
Hanoi and Washington are expected to increase US aircraft carrier visits, joint military exercises and arms sales, officials said. Among the top buyers of Russian arms, Vietnam has said publicly it wants to diversify its military arsenal, as per The Washington Post.