Biden Increases Vietnam Partnership In Latest Counter To China

The United States announced on Sunday that it has advanced diplomatic relations with Vietnam.

The relations will now be termed as a comprehensive strategic partnership, which will lead to the two countries engaged much more together.
The announcement came during a visit to Hanoi by President Joe Biden where he met with Nguyen Phu Trong, the country’s general secretary. The president was also scheduled to meet with other leaders in the country as well as prominent business officials.

One of the central parts of the increased diplomatic relations with Vietnam is an agreement that will increase efforts that will hopefully result in increased capacity for Vietnam’s semiconductor industry. These chips would then be used to support various industrial needs in the U.S.

There has been a huge shortage in semiconductor chips since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and there has been a struggle of sorts between the U.S. and China to gain control of the market.

In addition to collaboration on semiconductors, the U.S. and Vietnam said they’d be expanding bilateral research that might identify other areas where the two countries could collaborate on biotechnology, climate science, medical and health science, and even artificial intelligence.

Trade in agricultural goods will also be expanded, and there will also be an “enhanced commitment to meaningful dialogue” surrounding labor issues and human rights.

While flying to Vietnam on Air Force One, Jon Finer, the U.S. deputy national security adviser, told reporters:

“This is Vietnam’s highest tier of international partnership. It’s important to make this more than words. In a system like Vietnam, it’s a signal to the entire government, to their entire bureaucracy, about the depth of cooperation and alignment with another country.”

This agreement is just the latest effort by the U.S. government as it seeks to gain deeper alliances in what’s known as the Indo-Pacific region. It’s all being done to counter the influence that China is trying to exert throughout the region.

The Biden administration has particularly focused on Vietnam in this regard, with the White House aiming to expand its cooperation with the country.
Before the president traveled to Vietnam this week, Vice President Kamala Harris traveled there back in 2021.

The enhanced partnership isn’t likely to get resounding support from everyone, though. Some lawmakers and human rights groups are expected to criticize the partnership, in fact, based on the past history of Vietnam’s government.

In 2022, the State Department issued a report on human rights in the country, noting that its national elections were “neither free nor fair.” In issuing that report, it cited some credible reports it received about abuse by Vietnam’s government security agency, as well as other concerns around privacy violations.

The report outlined:

“The government occasionally took corrective action, including prosecutions against officials who abused human rights or engaged in corruption, but police officers and state officials frequently acted with impunity.”