President of the United States, Joe Biden says that he plans to travel to Vietnam shortly as part of an effort to improve relationship with Hanoi and become partners. The US and Vietnam have increased close trade links, while both share concerns over China’s growing strength in the region. Friction has been increasing for years between Beijing and Southeast Asian nations, particularly Vietnam and the Philippines, over China’s sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea.
The United States and Hanoi pledged back in April to upgrade diplomatic ties. The South China Sea is seen as a powder keg, and many fear a miscalculation or accident could ignite a military issue. Analysts say Hanoi may be more reluctant to elevate relations with the US, wary of upsetting Beijing. The United States has also sought to improve relations with China in recent months, with Blinken visiting in June after a previous trip was canceled when an alleged Chinese spy balloon was shot down by a US warplane after traversing the country earlier this year.
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