The US considers Vietnam a “battleground” country in its Indo-Pacific strategy

US National Security Council’s Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific, Kurt Campbell, speaking at the American Institute of Peace in Washington DC on November 19, called Vietnam a “battleground” nation of America in the region.

President Joe Biden’s administration views Vietnam as a key country for the US to strengthen ties, said the White House’s chief of the Indo-Pacific region, calling the Southeast Asian nation an “important battleground” of the United States there.

Speaking at an event hosted by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) based in Washington on November 19, Kurt Campbell, coordinator of the US National Security Council on the Indo-Pacific Duong said that Vietnam, along with India and a few others, topped the list of key countries that will “shape the future of Asia.”

I believe that whoever is in power in Washington, whether Democrat or Republican, will do what is necessary to help build this relationship,” Campbell said at the USIP event discussing the outcome of the recent summit between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping as well as US partnerships in the region, including QUAD and AUKUS.

Two consecutive visits within a month, in July and August, by Defense Minister Lloyd Austin and Vice President Kamala Harris to Hanoi are seen as an indication of the increasingly important role of Vietnam in the region with the United States in engaging with an area Washington considers crucial to containing China’s growing influence.

At a talk at USIP on November 19, Mr. Campbell described Vietnam as a “swing state“- a term often used to refer to the battleground states where presidential candidates want to win votes in elections in the US, in the Indo-Pacific.

This is going to be an important battleground state, not only strategically but also commercially and technologically,” Mr. Campbell said.

The White House coordinator pointed out that many high-tech and manufacturing companies are increasingly looking to Vietnam “to diversify their holdings, investments, and commercial models in Asia,” as well as emphasize “Vietnam’s remarkable growth in technology and other areas.”

Vietnam is elevating its diplomatic role,” Mr. Campbell said, noting Vietnam’s more active role in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

However, the Biden administration’s Indo-Pacific chief said that US and Vietnamese leaders need to get to know each other better, and instead of having scripted meetings, they should focus on “sharing a real strategic purpose.”

Although we have different types of government, different overall values, fundamentally, I believe that the ability to work closely with Vietnam will be decisive for us in the future, Mr. Campbell said.

Vietnam, along with Singapore, as mentioned in the interim National Security Strategy announced by the White House in early March this year as a partner targeted by Washington to “deepen” regional security cooperation. Although the relationship between Vietnam and the US has not been elevated to a strategic level as many expected during Vice President Harris’s visit at the end of August, observers believe that this relationship is in fact at a strategic level as both countries share common concerns on the South China Sea issue and regional security in the face of China’s expansion.

Mr. Campbell said that Vietnam also wants a stronger defense relationship with the US. The White House coordinator also said that there will be more visits of US, British and Australian naval ships to the South China Sea and training cooperation in the near future. (Translated)


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