BANGKOK — Chinese leader Xi Jinping arrived in Vietnam on Tuesday seeking to deepen ties with the Southeast Asian neighbor, weeks after it elevated its diplomatic relations with the United States and Japan.
At the meeting with Vietnam's Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Xi announced that the countries would work together to create a “China-Vietnam community with a shared future of strategic significance.”
Vietnam has resisted using that phrase in the past, but Beijing is seeking reassurance from its ally after Vietnam designated both the U.S. and Japan as “comprehensive strategic partners,” the designation it uses for China. It is the country's highest official designation for a diplomatic relationship.
“These symbolic gestures go a long way to reassure Beijing that Vietnam still sees China as its most important partner,” said Hunter Marston, a PhD candidate at the Australian National University who studies Southeast Asia's foreign policy.
Xi's visit marks 15 years of China being a “comprehensive strategic partner” of Vietnam. But that designation is now being given to other countries as Vietnam seeks to keep itself from being overly reliant on Beijing.
In September, U.S. President Joe Biden visited Vietnam to mark the U.S. being elevated to the same diplomatic status as China. Biden asserted that the stronger ties were not about countering China, though U.S. diplomacy across Asia and the…