What The US’s Agreement With Vietnam Means For China

The recent bilateral partnership between the United States and Vietnam has significant implications for China. In this comprehensive strategic partnership, both countries have expanded their relationship in various sectors, such as economics, education, and technology. This advancement is particularly notable considering that China has been Vietnam’s top trading partner for a long time.

As part of the enhanced partnership, the United States has committed $2 million to finance teaching labs and training courses for semiconductor assembly, testing, and packaging. Additionally, several U.S. companies, including one in Arizona and two in California, have already confirmed their plans to establish semiconductor factories and design centers in Vietnam. Furthermore, the U.S. artificial intelligence firm Nvidia will assist Vietnam in integrating AI into automotive and healthcare systems. These investments not only strengthen Vietnam’s appeal to U.S. and Western companies but also reduce their reliance on China as the sole source of their supply chain. Consequently, Vietnam’s emergence as a prominent player in the semiconductor market will decrease China’s market share and regional technological advantage.

In addition to these economic agreements, the U.S. has pledged nearly $9 million to support Vietnam in patrolling its border waters and enhancing port facility security. Another area of focus is combating illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing (IUUF). Although not explicitly stated, China is the primary target of these initiatives, given the ongoing disputes between China and Vietnam over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Chinese industrial fishing vessels are widely recognized as major contributors to IUUF worldwide.

By forging these agreements and alliances, particularly within the Indo-Pacific region, the United States aims to counterbalance China’s political, economic, and military influence. Vice President Kamala Harris’s diplomatic achievements at the recent ASEAN summit, partnerships like AUKUS and the Quad, increased military cooperation with Taiwan, and the recent Camp David meeting involving Japan and South Korea demonstrate the U.S.’s broadening network of alliances across Asia. Although U.S. leaders may not explicitly state their intentions, these actions reflect their efforts to restrain China’s power. After all, actions often speak louder than words.