U.S. President Joe Biden announced his plans to visit Vietnam in the near future during a political fundraiser in New Mexico.
He expressed that Vietnam is eager to enhance its relationship with the United States and become a significant partner. This visit will be seen as a step towards strengthening ties with Asian partners in order to counter China's growing assertiveness, he added.
The White House spokesperson, however, did not provide any additional information regarding this announcement.
In April, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had held a meeting where they both expressed the desire to deepen the ties between their countries.
This comes as Washington continues to make efforts to solidify relationships with Asian partners in response to China's increasing assertiveness.
President Biden's upcoming visit to Vietnam is expected to further advance these goals.
Secretary of State Blinken also expressed hope that this could happen in the coming weeks and months. He said that the US has been working to strengthen its relationship with Vietnam and elevate it to a strategic partnership.
However, he remarked that Vietnam has been cautious due to the potential risks of upsetting China and Russia, its important trading partners.
During a fundraiser in Maine, President Biden mentioned receiving a call from the leader of Vietnam who expressed a strong desire to meet with him during the G20 summit. This refers to President Biden's plans to travel to India for the summit on September 9-10.
President Biden stated that the leader of Vietnam wants to elevate their partnership to the same level as Russia and China.
Officials have not disclosed the specifics of the closer relationship between the United States and Vietnam.
However, experts believe that it could involve increased military cooperation and the provision of weapons by the U.S.
The United States and American defense companies have expressed their desire to enhance military supplies to Vietnam. Currently, these supplies are mainly limited to coastguard ships and training aircraft.
This move is part of Vietnam's effort to reduce its dependence on Russia, which remains its primary supplier.
While there is interest in military deals between the United States and Vietnam, there are potential obstacles to overcome.
One such hurdle is the possibility of these deals being delayed or hindered by U.S. lawmakers who have concerns about Vietnam's human rights record.
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