Joe Biden arrives in Vietnam to try to strengthen relations with the country in the face of China’s influence.

Joe Biden intends to sign an agreement with Vietnamese authorities that will make the U.S. and Vietnam “strategic partners,” but Hanoi had not agreed to it earlier for fear of China

President Joe Biden arrived Sunday in Vietnam for a two-day visit, in which he seeks to strengthen diplomatic relations with that country to counter China’s influence.

The presidential plane, Air Force One at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi.

From the airport, Biden is scheduled to travel to the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, where the highest Vietnamese authority, Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Communist Party, will honor him with a welcoming ceremony.

The two will later meet at the Communist Party of Vietnam office, after which Biden is scheduled to hold a press conference to give details of his visit to Vietnam and answer questions about his participation in the G20 summit, which concluded Sunday in New Delhi after two days of meetings.

Tomorrow, Monday, Biden has on the agenda a bilateral meeting with Vietnam’s Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chinh, with whom he will also participate in a meeting with businessmen. In addition, a state lunch is scheduled with Vietnam’s President Vo Van Thuong.

The United States and Vietnam normalized diplomatic relations in 1994 after a major effort to overcome the wounds of the Vietnam War (1955-1975), which pitted the Soviet-backed communist government of North Vietnam against the U.S.-backed regime of South Vietnam.

On that visit, Biden intends to sign an agreement with Vietnamese authorities that will make the United States and Vietnam “strategic partners,” a goal Washington had been working toward for the past decade but which Hanoi had so far refused to embrace for fear of provoking China.

This new chapter in U.S.-Vietnam relations comes at a time when both countries are experiencing growing tensions with China.

Specifically, Biden believes China is the United States’ biggest competitor, while Vietnam is concerned about Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, key to international trade.

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