Vietnam and the US have agreed to significantly strengthen their bilateral relations and enhance defense cooperation, amid tensions between both countries and China. In a joint statement released on Monday, US President Joe Biden and Vietnamese leader Nguyen Phu Trong announced that the two nations have elevated their relations to a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” status, aiming for peace, cooperation, and sustainable development.
The United States and Vietnam expressed their commitment to further collaborate in the defense industry and defense trade, based on each side’s conditions. The US also pledged to support Vietnam in developing its self-reliant defense capabilities. This move highlights the growing importance of Vietnam as a strategic partner for the US in the region.
One of the significant outcomes of the high-level meeting was the signing of several major deals between the US and Vietnam. Vietnam Airlines inked a $7.8 billion agreement to purchase 50 Boeing 737 passenger aircraft. This deal not only strengthens the airline’s fleet but also supports more than 30,000 jobs in the US. Additionally, a new chip partnership was established, with US-based Amkor Technology planning to launch operations at a factory in Vietnam in October 2023, with an estimated investment of $1.6 billion. This partnership aims to bolster resilient semiconductor supply chains for the US industry, consumers, and workers. Two other US-based technology companies, Marvell Technology and Synopsys, will also set up facilities in Vietnam, further enhancing technological collaborations.
The deepening of relations between the US and Vietnam comes at a time of escalating tensions between the US and China. Both countries have been engaging in a war of words, accusing each other of provocative actions. Meanwhile, Vietnam has been grappling with territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea, repeatedly condemning what it perceives as violations of its sovereign waters.
During his visit to Vietnam, President Biden emphasized that the US does not seek to contain China but rather aims to establish a constructive relationship. He stressed the importance of having a relationship that is characterized by transparency and fairness.
The strategic partnership between the US and Vietnam signifies the growing alignment and shared interests between the two nations. It not only strengthens the economic ties and trade relations but also enhances defense cooperation, promoting stability and security in the region. The US recognizes Vietnam as an emerging player in Southeast Asia, and this partnership not only benefits both countries but also has wider implications for the balance of power in the Asia-Pacific region.
Overall, the elevation of bilateral ties between Vietnam and the US marks a significant milestone in their relationship. The signing of major investment and trade agreements underscores the growing economic and strategic cooperation between the two nations. It also reflects the shared goal of maintaining a peaceful and prosperous region. As tensions continue to simmer in the region, this strategic partnership could play a crucial role in shaping the dynamics and stability of Southeast Asia.