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Joe Biden to visit Vietnam, meet with top leaders next week

President Joe Biden will stop in Vietnam to meet with that country's top officials next week as he seeks to establish stronger ties between the two nations, the White House said Monday. File Photo by Nathan Howard/UPI
President Joe Biden will stop in Vietnam to meet with that country's top officials next week as he seeks to establish stronger ties between the two nations, the White House said Monday. File Photo by Nathan Howard/UPI

Aug. 28 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden will visit Vietnam next week to meet with that nation's top officials, including General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, in a bid to "deepen cooperation," the White House said Monday.

The stop in Vietnam will be made on Sept. 10 during Biden's return trip from the G20 Summit in India. He is scheduled to arrive in New Delhi on Sept. 7, two days in advance of the Sept. 9-10 summit.

During the Hanoi stop, Biden and Trong, head of Vietnam's Communist Party, will "explore opportunities to promote the growth of a technology-focused and innovation-driven Vietnamese economy," as well as "increase peace, prosperity, and stability in the region," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

At a time of increasing U.S.-China tensions, the two leaders will seek to forge closer ties through "education exchanges and workforce development programs" and to combat climate change during the talks, she said.

The relations between communist Vietnam and the United States have steadily grown since the former Cold War enemies re-established diplomatic relations in 1995 and now includes formal economic, political and security relationships.

Tnen-President Barack Obama meets in the White House with General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong of Vietnam on July 7, 2015. Obama and Trong signed the U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership two years earlier. File Photo by Martin H. Simon/UPI
Tnen-President Barack Obama meets in the White House with General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong of Vietnam on July 7, 2015. Obama and Trong signed the U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership two years earlier. File Photo by Martin H. Simon/UPI

Biden's visit could usher in a significant upgrade in that relationship with the signing of a new strategic partnership agreement, Politico reported this month.

Citing three people "with knowledge of the deal's planning," the publication said the deal will foster new collaborations aimed at boosting Vietnam's efforts to develop its high technology sector, including semiconductor production and artificial intelligence.

Biden's trip comes four months after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Trong and other top Vietnamese officials in Hanoi, calling for a "free, open, connected, prosperous, secure, and resilient Indo-Pacific region, one that is at peace and rooted in respect for the rules-based international order."

Blinken's meeting coincided with the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership launched by then-President Barack Obama in 2013.

As Washington seeks to counterbalance the increasing assertiveness of China's military and its economic might in the region, its security cooperation with Hanoi currently includes support for Vietnam's Coast Guard and countering transnational organized crime, including human trafficking, the trafficking of drugs, precursor chemicals and wildlife.

Economic ties between the countries are also deepening. Vietnam-U.S. trade in goods exceeded $138 billion last year, which the White House calls "a remarkable expansion from nearly no economic links when ties were established 28 years ago."

The United States is now the largest export destination for Vietnamese goods, including textiles, footwear and electronics.