In Hanoi, Joe Biden says ties have ‘entered a new stage’, as analysts note Vietnam is prepared to challenge China’s regional ambitions

Over the weekend, US President Joe Biden arrived in Hanoi and finalised a diplomatic agreement with former foe Vietnam that was, until recently, almost unthinkable.

Shortly after touching down in the country, Biden met Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Communist party of Vietnam, to upgrade their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership (CSP), the highest of Vietnam’s three diplomatic levels – save for a special category reserved for Cambodia and Laos.

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