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Biden leads US tech executives in talks with business leaders in Vietnam

Business talks held as Washington and Hanoi seek to deepen cooperation amid shared concerns about China’s rise.

Executives of top tech firms, including Google and Intel, have met with business leaders in Vietnam as part of United States President Joe Biden’s landmark visit to the Southeast Asian country.

Tech leaders joined Biden and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday for an “innovation and investment summit” attended by Vietnamese firms, including electric car maker VinFast, internet company VNG and digital wallet provider Momo.

Washington and Hanoi are seeking to deepen their cooperation amid shared concerns about China’s rising power and influence.

The US views Vietnam as a key plank of its plans to reduce its reliance on China for strategic resources, such as semiconductors and rare earth minerals.

Vietnam has territorial disputes with Beijing in the South China Sea.

Biden on Monday emphasised the need to strengthen Vietnam’s semiconductor industry and his administration’s commitment to an open Pacific.

“My message today is quite simple. Let’s keep it up,” Biden told the CEOs. “We need to develop and drive our collaboration. We need to forge new partnerships.”

Biden and Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party chief, Nguyen Phu Trong, on Sunday agreed to a “comprehensive strategic partnership”, which includes a US pledge to help Vietnam boost production of semiconductors.

Biden denied that his visit to Vietnam was aimed at “containing” China, casting the trip as part of an effort to enhance global stability.

The White House earlier announced deals by US firms to expand operations in the country, including plans by Microsoft to make a “generative AI-based solution tailored for Vietnam” and a partnership between chipmaker Nvidia and Vietnam’s FPT, Viettel and Vingroup.

Vietnam Airlines also plans to buy 50 Boeing 737 MAX jets, while US conglomerate Honeywell will cooperate with a Vietnamese partner on a pilot project to develop Vietnam’s first battery energy storage system, the White House said.

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