Blinken to visit Vietnam and Japan as Asia tension flares

US has a growing relationship with Hanoi as the two countries have largely reconciled despite bitter war memories

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is preparing to make his first official visit to Hanoi. EPA
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Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Vietnam later this week in the latest bid to build relations with a growing US partner as tension flares with China over Taiwan, the State Department said on Monday.

Mr Blinken will visit Hanoi on his way to a Group of Seven foreign ministers meeting this weekend in the Japanese mountain resort of Karuizawa.

The Secretary of State will “discuss our shared vision of a connected, prosperous, peaceful and resilient Indo-Pacific region”, the State Department said.

The US has a growing relationship with Vietnam, including in the area of defence, with the two countries largely having reconciled despite bitter war memories.

Vietnam has long-standing tension with China, whose own relations with the US have deteriorated in recent years.

China on Monday completed military drills around Taiwan in the latest show of force against the self-governing democracy after its president travelled to the US.

Mr Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin will also meet on Tuesday in Washington with their counterparts from the Philippines, which has agreed to strengthen military ties with the US, its former colonial power.

It will be Mr Blinken's first trip to Vietnam since becoming Secretary of State, although Vice President Kamala Harris previously visited the country.

Mr Blinken will head to Hanoi after joining President Joe Biden on a trip to Ireland including Northern Ireland.

Updated: April 10, 2023, 3:22 PM