4 Keys to Biden’s Tour: From the Megaproject Against China to the Association With Vietnam

Biden's tour of Asia ends today. This has left, among other things, a new strategic agreement between the United States and Vietnam. This occurs in the midst of the tension between both countries with China, what is it about? Here we give you 4 keys to understand Biden's tour..

Joe Biden on his visit to Vietnam

Photo: EFE/EPA/Minh Hoang / POOL

Beatriz Pascual Macías | EFE

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Leer en español: Las 4 claves de la gira de Biden: del megaproyecto contra China a la asociación con Vietnam

US President Joe Biden's tour of Asia had a common denominator: China. From its announcement to create a mega infrastructure project as an alternative to the Silk Road to its alliance with Vietnam, the objective was to counteract the rise of the Asian giant.

Biden cemented his strategy in Asia with a tour that began in India to attend the G20 summit last weekend and ended today, Monday, after a 24-hour visit to Vietnam.

It was his third tour of Asia since he arrived at the White House in January 2021: the first took place in May 2022 to South Korea and Japan, traditional US partners, while the second occurred in November of the year. spent in Cambodia for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit and in Indonesia for the G20.

These are the keys to the tour, which lasted four days and concluded this Monday:

An alternative to the Chinese Silk Road

On the sidelines of the G20, Biden signed a memorandum of understanding on Saturday with the leaders of India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Germany, France, Italy and the European Union (EU) to create a mega railway and ports that link South Asia with the Gulf Countries and Europe.

The initiative aims to be an alternative to China's Silk Road, which Chinese President Xi Jinping launched in 2013 to expand its influence around the world through loans to developing countries and infrastructure projects on five continents.

Read also: U.S. Allies Against China

Although it was not one of the signatories, Israel will be one of the key partners of the project. The White House believes that its participation will contribute to achieving "greater integration in the Middle East" at a time when the United States is trying to get Israel and Saudi Arabia to normalize relations, which could revolutionize the geopolitical chessboard of the region.

United States and Vietnam: "strategic partners"

In addition, Biden signed on Sunday with the highest Vietnamese authority, Nguyen Phu Trong, an agreement that elevates the bilateral relationship to a strategic partnership , which represents further progress in the US plan to counter China's influence.

In practice, the agreement seeks to boost semiconductor production in Vietnam, which has already established itself as a prominent regional manufacturing center and which some companies see as an alternative destination to China.

However, the signing does not mean that Vietnam will become an unbreakable ally of the United States , since Hanoi seeks to maintain good relations with all powers.

In fact, Vietnam has similar strategic partnership agreements with China and Russia.

Strengthen the geopolitical profile of the G20

On the other hand, during the summit of the twenty largest economies in the world, Biden put all his efforts into strengthening the geopolitical profile of that forum and demonstrating that it can be useful to solve the problems of poverty and climate change faced by the countries of the Global South.

Each member of the US delegation stressed that the absence of Chinese President Xi Jinping did not diminish the importance of the forum.

In addition, they sought to make clear that the United States does not see as a challenge the decision made in August by the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) to include six new partners in 2024, which has raised speculation about whether the group could become a counterweight to the West.

From sunglasses to greeting Bin Salmán

Finally, the summit also had anecdotal moments, such as when Biden arrived on the first day of the G20 summit with his trademark sunglasses, and had to take them off before greeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Another moment that attracted a lot of press attention was the handshake between Biden and the Saudi crown prince, Mohamed bin Salmán.

His last greeting was a fist bump at a meeting in Saudi Arabia in July 2022 that generated widespread criticism in the US because it occurred after the CIA concluded that Bin Salman had approved the operation that resulted in the journalist's murder. of The Washington Post, Jamal Khashoggi, at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

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