US President Joe Biden will arrive in Vietnam on Sunday to deepen cooperation between the two countries in light of China’s growing ambitions in the region.
Biden – flying from the G20 summit in New Delhi – will meet the leader of Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party, Nguyen Phu Trong, on Sunday and is expected to sign a “comprehensive strategic partnership”, the highest level of Hanoi. Diplomatic ties.
The underlying purpose of the short visit will be largely the same as during Biden’s time at the G20 meeting: to shore up support against China’s rising influence.
For Vietnam, the improvement in diplomatic ties is significant. It only has top-level ties with Russia, India, South Korea and China.
Although the country will be careful not to take sides between the United States and China, Vietnam shares American concerns about its neighbor’s growing assertiveness in the disputed South China Sea.
The United States and Vietnam – a major manufacturing hub – also have increasingly close trade ties, and Washington sees Hanoi as a key partner as the country looks to cut back on sourcing from China after supply chain shocks rocked the global economy in recent years put.
On Sunday in Hanoi there will be a welcome ceremony, speeches from the two leaders and a press conference by the US president – who on Tuesday awarded the highest US military award to a helicopter pilot who saved four soldiers during the Vietnam War.
Joe Biden will meet President Vo Van Thuong and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh the next day.
Ahead of the 80-year-old US president’s arrival, Hanoi’s central Hoan Kiem Lake area, packed with families taking a weekend stroll, was decorated with American and Vietnamese flags.
Nearby, in the city’s old quarter, a souvenir shop sold T-shirts with Biden’s face on the front.
“I think the US is a good friend of Vietnam,” said the store’s 61-year-old owner, Truong Thanh Duc.
“I believe that with this visit from President Joe Biden, he will bring more business contracts and jobs to the Vietnamese people.”
– Human rights –
In Vietnam, Biden will combine strategic interests with the defense of human rights.
The Southeast Asian country has a poor human rights record. Critics of the government face harassment, intimidation and imprisonment after unfair trials, and there are reports of torture by police to extract confessions, Human Rights Watch says.
While the president has often criticized China’s human rights record, he has remained largely silent on Vietnam and campaigners fear he will not address the issue.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan said ahead of the trip that Biden would raise issues related to “freedom of speech, freedom of religion and other basic human rights.”
His visit comes days after a US government commission on religious freedom sharply criticized Vietnam for “blatant, persistent and systematic violations.”
On Saturday, Nguyen Bac Truyen, a legal expert and religious freedom advocate who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for subversion in 2018, said on Facebook that he had been released and allowed to travel to Germany with his wife.
Vietnam often releases political prisoners ahead of U.S. presidential visits.
Biden’s visit to Hanoi marks an early departure from the G20 summit, where leaders agreed on a joint statement that overshadowed deep divisions over the war in Ukraine and tackling climate change, drawing direct criticism of Moscow and any concrete commitment to phase out polluting fossil fuels are avoided. fuels.
His trip to Vietnam also includes a moving visit to the memorial to his friend John McCain, the former US senator who was shot and captured during the Vietnam War and who in later years helped rebuild ties between the two countries.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by DailyExpertNews staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)