Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Is a US-Vietnam strategic partnership likely to happen soon? – diplomatic



coming exactly two weeks after the fruit diet telephone call US President Joe Biden and Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), between Secretary of State Antony Blinken Travel The visit to Hanoi on April 14–16 was a bold step aimed at strengthening US-Vietnam relations. blinken and trong Thrown light on Reiterated the upward trend in ties since the establishment of the “Comprehensive Partnership” a decade ago, and the need to further deepen ties. Blinken also urged Prime Minister Pham Minh to sign Increase economic and security ties, and expanded Biden’s invitation For future high level visits. Many analysts made upbeat forecast that the second half of the year would see the relationship being upgraded to a “strategic partnership” from high-ranking visits.

Over the past decade, US-Vietnam relations have flourished. Economic ties are serving as the cornerstone. America belongs to Vietnam since 2002 top export markets, Bilateral trade has increased dramatically, and is projected to peak in 2023. cross $100 billion for the third year in a row. The labeling of Vietnam as a “currency manipulator” by the Trump administration was similar to removed by the Biden administration. Boosting economic cooperation after a group of 50 US companies looked promising Visited Vietnam in March in search of business opportunities.

Despite successes in the economic sphere, Vietnam has so far been cautious about forging a strategic partnership with the US. Held responsible This reluctance for fear of possible Chinese retaliation, but Hanoi’s considerations go beyond mere concerns about Beijing’s reactions. In fact, Vietnam is now more concerned about internal interference by the US if the two countries end the strategic partnership. Vietnam’s primary goals are strategic autonomy, economic development, and preservation of the CPV regime. In defense of both its strategic autonomy and the security of the communist regime, Vietnam has been steadfast in fighting against perceived domestic interference by outside forces, commonly described as “attempts at provocation”.peaceful developmentTo destroy or threaten its authority.

More broadly, Vietnam views Washington’s excessive focus on press freedom, religious freedom and human rights as an internal intrusion and a potential threat to Vietnam’s political security. Vietnam where did it go It was willing to enhance relations with all five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, provided that “the principles of independence, sovereignty, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, mutual respect, equal cooperation and mutual benefit are committed and be strictly” enforced.


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Nevertheless, Blinken announced in November that Vietnam would be placed on a “special watch list” for major violations of religious freedom. Then, as part of his visit to Hanoi, Blinken a monastery, which served as a subtle confirmation on that account. Considering Vietnam’s prerequisites for establishing a strategic partnership, US actions and discourse on Vietnam’s human rights record clearly go against the principle of “non-interference” in Vietnam’s internal affairs.

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Worse, the Biden administration, which has claimed to put human rights at the center Forefront In its foreign policy, it has shown no willingness to set aside Vietnam’s human rights record in order to upgrade relations. published by the US State Department a statement On social media just hours before Blinken’s trip to Vietnam, it condemned the sentencing of prominent Vietnamese political activist and journalist Nguyen Lan Thang, who was recently given a prison sentence and probation by the Hanoi People’s Court.

State Department Annual Human Rights Report Involved A section on “arbitrary deprivation of life and other illegal or politically motivated killings” in Vietnam, which referred to the sudden and secret death of a political prisoner Nguyen Phuong Hong and three other prisoners. During his phone call with Trong in March, Biden described Washington’s “respect for human rights,” meaning that the doctrine would continue to play a major role in US policy toward Vietnam.

Vietnam’s calculus regarding a possible upgrade of relations with the US may also be influenced by how the US treats its allies and strategic partners. The US has enlisted the help of its NATO partners in Europe to use Ukraine as a front line in a proxy war with Russia. As a result, Washington is cut huge profit selling liquefied natural gas and military weapons to Europe, while Ukraine’s military forces were being built up Empty And the economies of its European partners were sliding further into crisis. So Vietnam may be concerned about this potential vulnerability if it becomes part of Washington’s broader plan to curb Beijing’s power and influence.


The Taiwan experience also informs Vietnam about the US strategy of using its allies with the aim of weakening China. visit The demonstration in August of former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for Taiwan as a deterrent signal to China about the continued existence of the US-Taiwan alliance was, in fact, followed by a series of restrictions China has imposed on Taiwan. However, the damage to US–China economic relations as a result of Pelosi’s visit was minor.

Security risks lurk for US strategic partners. Most of the countries listed in the current administration’s list Indo-Pacific Strategy are either located close to China or within an area of ​​the South China Sea that China unreasonably claims. some of them – eg India, Indonesia, Singapore, mongolia, new zealandand more recently, Papua New Guinea – have established a strategic partnership with the US and share one characteristic: they have signed or are in talks to sign a military agreement with the superpower. US efforts to “militarize” its strategic partners could put Vietnam at risk of Chinese retaliation.

even during blinken suggested That an uptick in formal ties could happen “in the coming weeks and months” would certainly be demanding in such a short period of time. Although the door is not closed. Vietnam’s decision on whether to escalate ties with the US depends on how it anticipates China’s reactions, as well as Washington’s commitment to respect Vietnam’s sovereignty and pursue “equal and mutually beneficial cooperation” with the country. He does so well in achieving. In his meeting with Blinken, Trong implied that Vietnam was ready to advance US–Vietnam relations when it where did it go that they saw and saw as a “foundation to bring about” positive developments in the relationship between the two countries [ties] to new heights. Now the ball seems to be in America’s court.

The US would also like to note that there are two primary factors that determine Vietnam’s willingness to enhance relations. First, Hanoi will consider the practical benefits it might derive from the upgrade, such as increasing its ability to shield itself against China’s assertive measures in the South China Sea or bolstering its defense through the acquisition of state-of-the-art US military equipment. To strengthen hardware. If such a military agreement is reached between the two partners, it should not go against Vietnam. “Four Nos” Policythat engage in military alliances, favor one country against another, allow any country to establish military bases or use the territory of Vietnam as a means of deterrence against others, and use force or Prohibits the threat of use of force in international relations.

The second factor is Hanoi’s willingness to take risks. Vietnam needed assurances that the upgrade would not enrage China and lead to “retribution” or “punishment” from its more powerful neighbor. This could take the form of restricting export and import activities across countries’ borders or pursuing forceful activities in disputed parts of the South China Sea. Recognizing the utmost importance of staying on good terms with China, Vietnamese officials must secure Beijing’s commitment, or at least, prepare for its response, before elevating ties with the US to a strategic partnership. Must be able to.

In short, if bilateral relations must be upgraded, Vietnam will likely frame “strategic partnership” as a “normal” development of US–Vietnam relations, not as an “alliance” formed to contain China. . Amid growing US-China strategic competition, Hanoi will maintain its delicate balancing act and its long standing policy “diversification and multilateralism of international relations” instead of leaning solely towards China or the US