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Yellen visits Vietnam, looking for to construct US ties and provide chains, and offset tensions with China

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HANOI — The U.S. considers constructing sturdy financial and safety ties with Vietnam a precedence, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen mentioned Thursday as she met with Vietnamese officers in a go to aimed toward fortifying America’s relations throughout Asia.

Yellen arrived in Vietnam after visits to Beijing and to India, the place she attended monetary conferences of the Group of 20 main industrial economies.

“The US considers Vietnam a key companion in advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Yellen instructed Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, in keeping with remarks supplied by the U.S. Treasury Division.

A “free and open Indo-Pacific” refers back to the newest iteration of broad U.S. diplomacy aimed toward cultivating stronger ties with different international locations within the area to counter China‘s rising sway amongst its neighbors.

“Vietnam can also be a detailed financial companion, with our two-way commerce reaching report highs final yr and america serving as Vietnam’s largest export market,” Yellen mentioned. “It’s a precedence for our administration to deepen our financial and safety ties with Vietnam within the months and years to return.”

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Yellen briefly sat atop a brilliant pink electrical scooter throughout a go to to a manufacturing unit in Hanoi’s lush inexperienced suburbs, the place Selex Motors, a five-year-old Vietnamese startup, makes EV scooters and batteries.

Local weather change poses an existential risk to the world but in addition supplies a “key financial alternative” and strategy to construct “larger resilience into our economies,” she mentioned, describing the ability as “spectacular.”

Yellen mentioned the U.S. acknowledged the significance of diversifying provide chains after experiencing the disruptions introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic. “After which, when Russia invaded Ukraine, many international locations noticed what the implications could possibly be of being overly dependent — in Europe’s case for pure gasoline and oil — on a rustic that would use it for geopolitical ends,” she mentioned.

She mentioned the U.S. was actively making an attempt to advertise inexperienced resilience in provide chains. That does not imply ending buying and selling relationships with China, she mentioned, reiterating feedback she has voiced earlier than. “However we do companion with extra international locations. And we see Vietnam as a wonderful companion,” she mentioned.

Yellen mentioned the U.S. is dedicated to mobilizing $15 billion to help Vietnam’s adoption of renewable power as part of the Simply Power Transition Partnership or JETP — a monetary promise made by the Group of Seven superior economies to assist the nation part out its reliance on fossil fuels. Such initiatives have provided related incentives to South Africa and Indonesia.

Talking earlier to a gaggle of enterprise girls and economists, Yellen mentioned she was inspired by rising investments in Vietnam in industries together with pc chips and renewable power.

Yellen’s go to is a part of concerted U.S. efforts to steadiness China’s rising affect within the Indo-Pacific. Earlier this yr, Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Vietnam weeks after the fiftieth anniversary of the U.S. troop withdrawal that marked the tip of America’s direct army involvement in Vietnam. He pledged to spice up relations to new ranges.

Diplomatic relations between the 2 international locations had been solely restored in 1995. Since then, bilateral commerce has grown, reaching a excessive of $138 billion in items commerce final yr.

“Now we have labored carefully to handle the legacies of the warfare,” Yellen mentioned.

China’s border is lower than 60 miles (96 kilometers) from Hanoi and Vietnam, like a lot of China’s neighbors, has had maritime and territorial disputes with Beijing within the South China Sea. The 2 sides fought a short warfare in 1979. However China is Vietnam’s greatest buying and selling companion.

Yellen additionally met Thursday with the governor of Vietnam’s central financial institution, Nguyen Thi Hong, and introduced a brand new financial coverage dialogue between the State Financial institution of Vietnam and the U.S. Treasury Division.

She thanked Nguyen for the “shut cooperation” between the U.S. and the State Financial institution of Vietnam to handle American issues over Vietnam’s foreign money practices. She added that the U.S. would stay supportive of Vietnam’s progress and that this may be useful for each Vietnamese and American folks.

Vietnam has shortly change into a serious export manufacturing hub for world producers like South Korea’s LG and Samsung Electronics, suppliers to Apple, Inc. and auto makers like Honda and Toyota.


Related Press video journalist Hau Dinh contributed from Hanoi, Vietnam.

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