To bolster ties with countries in Asia and address mutual concerns over the growing influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), President Joe Biden will embark on a state visit to Vietnam in September. The visit will follow this month's landmark Camp David trilateral leaders’ summit involving Japan and South Korea, which underscored America’s commitment to keep the CCP's influence in check across the Indo-Pacific region.
"High-level leaders of the two countries have agreed and are discussing measures to further deepen bilateral relation in a stable, substantive, and long-term manner, and aiming to upgrade (the relation) to a new level when possible," Vietnamese foreign ministry spokesperson Pham Thu Hang said.
The United States has been actively seeking to strengthen its ties with Asian allies and partners to effectively address the threat posed by the CCP: what the Aug. 18 joint statement called "actions inconsistent with the rules-based international order, which undermine regional peace and prosperity."
Rare earth elements are vital for cutting-edge industries like permanent magnets and semiconductor abrasives. China's dominance in the sector has fueled concerns that it could wield rare earth elements as a retaliatory tool in disputes with countries like the United States and Japan. As a result, diversifying rare earth supply chains has become imperative for the United States and its allies, including South Korea and Japan.
Samsung alone produces nearly half of its smartphones and tablets in Vietnamese factories, and Samsung products account for about a quarter of Vietnam's total exports.
Despite sharing a border and economic ties, Vietnam and China have experienced significant territorial disputes in the South China Sea in recent years. These tensions escalated to a standoff at sea in May of this year.
In July, Vietnam even banned the American film "Barbie," because it featured a map showing the "nine-dash line"—used by China to mark its claim to most of the South China Sea.
Despite historical conflicts, the relationship between the United States and Vietnam has consistently improved. The United States currently serves as Vietnam's largest export market, and its aircraft carriers have made multiple port stops in Vietnam.
Li Yuanhua, a Chinese affairs expert and former professor of history at Beijing's Capital Normal University, told The Epoch Times on Aug. 22 that Vietnam's participation in an Indo-Pacific alliance would be pivotal to curbing the CCP's influence.
Mr. Li noted that while Vietnam and China are both communist nations, they are at odds with each other. Vietnam opposes China in terms of economic development and territorial matters. As it pertains to the South China Sea issue, Vietnam relies on the United States for military resources, weaponry, and advanced technology.
Mr. Li predicts that Vietnam will carefully navigate its relations with both China and the United States, while remaining cautious of the CCP's tendency to exploit relationships. He envisions that Vietnam will have a closer relationship with the United States, while gradually distancing itself from the CCP's influence.