In an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Siamak Bagheri, referring to Biden’s visit to Vietnam, considered the signing of the comprehensive partnership agreement between the United States and Vietnam in 2013 during the presidency of Barack Obama as a turning point in the relations of the two countries and noted: To realize this comprehensive partnership, the secretary general of the Communist Party of Vietnam visited Washington in 2015, and after that, the ban on arms sales to Vietnam was lifted and relations between the two countries developed.
He called the US President’s visit to Vietnam as restricting important messages and referring to the strategic importance of the East Asian region for the US due to the threat posed by China’s growth; he added: The US has transferred a significant part of its capacities to this region to confront and restrict China and has taken various scenarios and plans in this regard.
The analyst of international issues listed securing China’s peripheral environment, strengthening the fleets around it, entering into border disputes, and creating tension in China’s allied countries against Beijing as being among the US strategies and said: In this regard, we are witnessing the establishment and expansion of multilateral communications by the United States against China, which has threatening messages for that country. In addition to such cases, Washington is trying to reduce China’s political and economic influence by forming alliances. For example, while Vietnam is a member of ASEAN, the United States tries to reduce China’s influence and power by strengthening bilateral relations with Vietnam and other members of that agreement.
Regarding Vietnam’s membership in the Indo-Pacific Economic Working Group led by the United States, Bagheri continued: The US bilateral relations with Vietnam have different objectives. This country has the second-highest estimated reserves of rare metals to produce semiconductors. In the current situation, one of the US’s serious rivalry with China is in obtaining those resources, and previously, the Chinese have negotiated with Vietnam to exploit part of the mines. If the US monopolizes this part of Vietnam’s reserves, it can put severe obstacles in front of China.
While referring to Vietnam’s records and historical relationship with China and Russia, especially in the field of arms supply, he stated that Biden is trying to distance Vietnam from over-reliance on Russian weapons by putting aid measures on the agenda, he added: Although Vietnam has had stable relations with China, so far we have not seen significant tension between them, except in a limited way and about territorial claims, but there are differences between the two countries. Among other things, the two sides have border disputes in the South China Sea. Vietnam shares more than 70 miles of border with China, and for years, Hanoi has been holding back against Beijing in this regard.
The university professor stated that now it seems that the internal developments in Vietnam are also in line with the reduction of China’s pressure against that country, adding: This new approach has led Vietnam to take advantage of the US position in the region to form a new balance in the region. In the current situation, to create a positive balance, Vietnam also emphasizes accepting the issue of one China and not interfering in the internal affairs of that country.
Emphasizing that Vietnam is not seeking to create tension in relations with China, at the same time, Bagheri said: The US has shown a positive approach to Vietnam within the framework of its interests, especially in competing with China and restricting that country. If Vietnam did not have such a position in the neighborhood of China concerning the political-social characteristics of that country, the US would never have a priority in strengthening relations with that country and would not accept communist Vietnam.
Saying that the US is monitoring and investigating Vietnam’s needs and Vietnam is trying to cover its weaknesses through the US, he clarified: Vietnam has also established a kind of partnership with the Philippines to improve its power and position in areas of dispute with China in cooperation with that country.
The international affairs analyst pointed to the steps taken by the US in East Asia to restrict China and reminded that it seems that in the current situation, China has a defensive approach in this area and not a preventive and preemptive one. In the past two decades, the US has implemented several programs to contain China; the Pentagon created the East Asia Maritime Security Initiative program, and the country’s foreign policy department also pursues political initiatives. The US is also active in economic communication and has increased its influence in this region by forming political alliances.
Bagheri said that the US has spent a lot of money to restrict China; he added China has not yet used its soft power as it should to solve some of its border, territorial, and political problems. Of course, it should be noted that despite the defensive posture, China does not seek to create tension because it knows that any tension will affect its economic growth. On the other hand, the US regularly takes measures to force China to react tensely in the region. China manages this issue in such a way that by avoiding the conflict, it prevents the occurrence of tension in which the interests of the Americans are provided.