Why is Biden visiting Vietnam instead of Indonesia?

On September 10, US President Joe Biden will go to Vietnam following his attendance at the G20 leaders’ summit in New Delhi, India, in 2023. Biden is in Vietnam with the intention of advancing ties between the two nations into a comprehensive strategic partnership. Biden will not be present for the leaders’ summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which will take place in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, from September 5–7. The president will not be present; vice president Kamala Harris will.


When Biden traveled to Indonesia for the 2022 G20 Bali conference, he was there last year. At that moment, Biden and Joko Widodo, the president of Indonesia, pledged funding for initiatives pertaining to education, security, and the climate. As the US builds relationships throughout Southeast Asia, Vietnam is a useful ally, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said to VOA on Tuesday. Since 2015, Indonesia has been a strategic partner of the United States. Having had a comprehensive collaboration with the United States for ten years, Vietnam is now prepared to expand its relationship.


China’s actions in the South China Sea may be one of the reasons Vietnam is now prepared to strengthen ties with the United States. China asserts territorial claims over nearly the whole sea. There are territorial disputes between Vietnam and China in the South China Sea regarding numerous landforms. Vietnam seeks to fortify its position through alliances in order to defend its rights in the South China Sea. Enhanced collaboration would aid Vietnam’s technology sector development. This would cover the creation of artificial intelligence and semiconductor manufacturing. China and the United States compete in each of these fields.


A report on Southeast Asians’ perspectives was released earlier this year by the ASEAN Studies Center in Singapore. The survey discovered that Americans were more well-liked by Southeast Asians than Chinese people, and that this preference had grown from the previous year. Indonesians, though, seemed to be the exception. Between 2021 and 2023, the proportion of Indonesians who selected the United States decreased by eighteen points. Over the same time period, the percentage of respondents who chose China increased by roughly the same amount.

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