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US President says will visit ‘shortly’

US President Joe Biden said he would travel to Vietnam “shortly” as part of an effort to improve ties with Hanoi, as Washington seeks to counter China’s influence in the region.

The United States and Vietnam have increasingly close trade links, while both share concern over China’s growing strength in the region.

Friction has been increasing for years between Beijing and South-East Asian nations over China’s sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea.

Washington and Hanoi pledged in April to upgrade diplomatic ties when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stopped over on his way to a G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in Japan.

The South China Sea, the longtime centre of tensions between China and Vietnam, is seen as a powder keg, and many fear a miscalculation or accident could ignite a military conflict.

Source : The Star