Next month, Kamala Harris, American Vice President, is going to visit Vietnam and Singapore, ‘two critical Indo-Pacific allies,’ the United States said on Friday.
On Thursday, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, President of Vietnam, first confirmed the tour of Kamala Harris when Xuan Phuc met with Lloyd Austin (American Secretary of Defense), who is the first official in the Joe Biden administration bench to travel to Vietnam.
In Friday’s statement, Symone Sanders, Chief Spokesperson and the White House Senior Adviser, described that Kamala Harris is going to engage the presidents of both countries on issues of mutual interests, including climate change, the global response to the Coronavirus pandemic, regional security and their joint struggles to promote a rules-based international order.
Symone Sanders added that this incoming tour continues that work, deepening their relationships in Southeast Asia. Moreover, the White House didn’t disclose the exact dates for the tour.
It is going to be the first time when a vice president of the United States will tour Vietnam since the south and north were reunited in July 1975. during their vice-presidential tenures, Richard Nixon (1956) and Lyndon Johnson (1962) both toured Saigon when it was Vietnam’s Capital.
Defense Secretary’s visit in the midst of COVID-19
This week, Lloyd Austin, the United States Defense Secretary, visited Vietnam in the middle of the destroying Coronavirus pandemic and just a few days after America sent three million Moderna vaccine doses to Vietnam. Furthermore, this shipment increases the total amount of vaccine doses the United States delivered to Southeast Asian country to five million.
Lloyd Austin described to Phuc that they look forward to continuing to assist in a number of ways, no strings attached. He continued that it’s what friends do to assist friends in emergencies.
On Thursday, John Kirby, Pentagon Press Secretary, described to news reporters that it is a part of the world where Beijing continues to be very hostile in space, so it was very crucial for the secretary to get here.
Territorial claims of China
Hanoi has remained progressively vocal regarding its position to territorial accusations of China in the South China Sea.
America, in the past, has backed Vietnam with Coast Guard cutters to assist boost its power to protect against Beijing’s hostile attitude in waters claimed by both nations.
According to Murray Hiebert of the CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies), despite Vietnam and Beijing’s communist ties, China came up as a new contender of Hanoi, while the Vietnam and America’s relationship turned very strong and friendly.
Hiebert said that it is remarkable how far these two nations have come in the past forty years or so. He added that America is Vietnam’s dominant trading ally, also a major investor, and has some of the closest military-to-military ties with any nation in Southeast Asia.