Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden said he would be traveling to Vietnam “shortly” because the country wanted to elevate its relationship with the United States. According to reports, he is planning to do so in mid-September with the intention of signing a strategic partnership agreement with Hanoi.
The agreement will allow for new bilateral collaboration that will boost Vietnam’s efforts to develop its high-tech sector in areas such as semiconductor production and artificial intelligence.
The more salient, if unspoken, purposes are to strengthen the US’ grip on semiconductor production and the implementation of its “Indo-Pacific” strategy, which is all about suppressing China and containing its influence in the region. It is an established tactic of the Biden administration to try and stoke tensions between China and its neighbors, so as to draw the latter closer to the US.
If such an agreement is signed, it will mark a significant improvement in US-Vietnam ties, paving the way for closer diplomatic, economic and technological cooperation between them. There is also some conjecture that the US could increase weapon supplies to Vietnam and strengthen its military cooperation with the country.
Such a prospect may bolster Biden’s image at home and gain some political capital for him to leverage for the presidential election next year. However, even US experts and officials do not believe that Washington can turn Hanoi against Beijing. High-ranking Vietnamese officials have repeatedly pledged that Vietnam gives top priority to its relations with Beijing.
Two months ago in Beijing, visiting Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh told his Chinese hosts that his country opposes the politicization of economic issues and will never allow any force to drive a wedge between the two neighbors.
Hence, it is clear Vietnam does not want to take sides in the US’ strategic competition against China. As China has repeatedly pointed out, the US maneuvering is by no means some kind of blessing for the region, but instead a symptom of its pathological need to disrupt regional peace and stability.
Countries in the region should remain on high alert to the US’ actions as they run counter to the common aspirations of the region for peace, development, cooperation and win-win outcomes. To salvage its waning reputation and influence, the US should cease its attempts to make trouble in the region, and instead demonstrate leadership for the common good of all countries in the region.
Source: China Daily