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Days after Putin, US Envoy to Hanoi Declares Trust Between US and Vietnam at “All-Time High”

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HANOI, 24 June 2024 – Days after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s state visit to Hanoi, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink held meetings in Vietnam on Saturday, highlighting that trust between the U.S. and Vietnam is at a “all-time high.”

Kritenbrink played down rumors that his visit was related to Putin’s trip, which had caused the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi to react strongly. Vietnam’s hosting of Putin, who is universally denounced for his protracted conflict in Ukraine, drew criticism from the Embassy.

Kritenbrink emphasized during a briefing in Hanoi the recent upgrading of U.S.-Vietnam relations to that of comprehensive strategic partners, a distinction also held by China and Russia. According to him, this move up shows Vietnam’s calculated attempt to broaden its international alliances as the world’s supply chains move away from China.

Kritenbrink emphasized the importance of U.S.-Vietnam connections, especially in terms of the economy, while reiterating concerns about Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Vietnam-U.S. commerce surpassed $3.6 billion to $111 billion in 2023, a significant amount of trade. During his tour, he had a meeting with Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son.

A major problem with China’s forceful efforts in the South China Sea is that Kritenbrink expressed “great concern” about the possibility of conflict. He contrasted China’s recent aggressive actions in the Second Thomas Shoal with Vietnam’s desire to resolve its maritime conflicts with the Philippines amicably.

Despite being affected by recent activities by the Chinese Coast Guard, the Philippines has made it clear that, despite the provocations, it has no intention of using its right to mutual defense with the United States.

In the face of escalating geopolitical difficulties in the area, this visit highlights the United States’ dedication to fortifying its relations with Vietnam.

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