U.S. President Joe Biden addresses a press conference in Hanoi (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Joe Biden says US outreach to Vietnam is not about containing China

Joe Biden has said his visit to Vietnam is not aimed at starting a “cold war” with China, but was part of a broader effort to provide global stability by building US relationships throughout Asia at a time of tensions with Beijing.

“It’s not about containing China,” the US president said at a news conference in Vietnam’s capital after attending the G20 summit in India. “It’s about having a stable base.”

He arrived in Hanoi as Vietnam was elevating the US to its highest diplomatic status: comprehensive strategic partner. That is evidence of how far the relationship has evolved from what Mr Biden referred to as the “bitter past” of the Vietnam War.

The expanded partnership reflects a broader effort across Asia to counter China’s influence. Mr Biden has said Vietnam wants to flex a degree of independence, and US companies are seeking an alternative to imports from Chinese factories. He is pursuing possible allies while also trying to soothe tensions with China.

“I think we think too much in… cold war terms,” Mr Biden said at his news conference. “It’s not about that. It’s about generating economic growth and stability in all parts of the world. And that’s what we’re trying to do.

“We have an opportunity to strengthen alliances around the world to maintain stability. That’s what this trip is all about.”

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