Last week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi concluded a three-day visit to Vietnam, making him the second high-ranking Chinese official to have visited the country since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in late 2019 and early 2020.
Wang’s trip to Hanoi came on the heels of those of the United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Vice President Kamala Harris, in July and August, respectively. In their meetings with Vietnamese leaders, both Austin and Harris proposed to elevate the U.S. relationship with Vietnam to a “strategic partnership.”
In Hanoi, Wang therefore had two major challenges: winning Vietnam’s approval by offering more COVID-19 vaccines and pulling Vietnam back from its growing proximity to the U.S. and reinforcing trust between the two communist parties over their disputes in the South China Sea or the East Sea as Vietnam calls it.
Hai Hong Nguyen