President Biden Emphasizes Non-Containment Approach to China During Asia Visits

During his high-profile visits to India and Vietnam, President Joe Biden emphasized that his efforts to strengthen ties with China’s neighbors are not aimed at “containing” Beijing. He reiterated this message multiple times, stating, “I don’t want to contain China” and that the United States is not trying to harm China. Instead, President Biden’s goal is to establish a positive and stable relationship between the two world powers.

While the Biden administration has previously stated that it does not seek to curb China’s rise, this message, delivered in India and Vietnam, is the clearest signal to Beijing that the U.S. does not wish to instigate a new Cold War.

President Biden’s visit to India for the G20 summit and his subsequent trip to Vietnam, where the bilateral relationship was upgraded, were framed publicly as efforts to rally allies for cooperation on climate change, development, and the changing global economy. Privately, U.S. officials hinted that improving relations with New Delhi and Hanoi would enhance America’s position in the region.

However, President Biden denied that his presence in Asia was meant to bolster the United States at China’s expense. He emphasized the importance of having a stable foundation in the Indo-Pacific and urged a departure from Cold War thinking.

President Biden stressed that the key to a positive U.S.-China relationship is ensuring that China adheres to the rules of the international order established by the United States after World War II. He expressed his sincere desire for a transparent and rule-based relationship with China.

Despite hopes of a face-to-face meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping later this year, Biden has not met with him for ten months, citing Xi’s focus on economic challenges at home.

The U.S. strengthening its partnership with Vietnam, including a “comprehensive strategic partnership” designation, may not sit well with Beijing. While Vietnam is not considered a U.S. ally, it is concerned about China’s actions in the South China Sea and has benefited economically from the U.S.-China trade tensions.

During President Biden’s visit, tensions over human rights issues arose, with Vietnamese officials emphasizing “non-interference in domestic affairs.”

President Biden acknowledged these concerns but emphasized the broader strategic opportunities in the U.S.-Vietnam relationship.

In Vietnam, President Biden will also visit a memorial for the late Senator John McCain, a former prisoner of war in Hanoi during the Vietnam War, alongside Vietnam War veteran John Kerry.

Following his visit to Vietnam, President Biden will travel to Alaska, where he will mark the anniversary of September 11th during a stop at an Air Force base in Anchorage.

Also read: Gavin Newsom’s Political Odyssey: From California to the National Stage?

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