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Jun 17, 2022 / 19:30

Winning near partners to counter far rivals

For a long time, the US has been neglecting the American continent while China steps by step but continuously and successfully established and enhanced its influence on the continent.

By hosting the IX. Summit of the Americas, US president Joe Biden brought this event for the first time since 1994 into the US. It was very easy to everyone to find out one of his main purposes: He intended to use this gathering to win and to mobilize American nations to counter China in the American continent.

 US President Joe Biden and country leaders at the event. Photo: AFP/VNA

Middle America, the Caribee, and Latin America were once considered the US's backyard and in bondage to the US. But for a long time, the US has been neglecting this region while China step by step but continuously and successfully established and enhanced its influence on the continent.

The result is more and more countries on the continent have turned away from the US and drifted off in China's direction. Their rapprochement with China and their new self-confidence in dealing with the US have turned this region from the so-called backyard of the US into a real and bubbling field of battle for the US. Joe Biden is now trying to get this region back under the US leadership.


 

In his speech at the Summit, he outlined a proposed new economic partnership with Latin America named The Americas Partnership For Economic Prosperity. He hopes with this initiative to sway leaders of American nations away from China's promises and actions to invest in large infrastructure projects. He pointed out the related differences between the US and China by saying: "We have to invest in making sure our trade is sustainable and responsible in creating supply chains that are more resilient, more secure, and more sustainable", implying increased US economic engagement, including more investment and building on existing trade deals.

 

His intention and initiative are good, urgent, and necessary for the US at present. But they are a little bit too late and too short to be able to pull China's presence and influences out of the continent. His "Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity " still appears to be a work in progress, stops short of offering tariff relief, and will initially focus only on "like-minded partners" that already have US trade accords. It included proposes to revitalize the Inter-American Development Bank and create clean energy jobs. But it is still too vague to be impressed as convincing and to be considered promising by the majority of the Summit participants.

 

But it is enough to demonstrate a decisive adjustment of the US policy toward the continent and signaled that the US now officially declares "competition war" with China in the American continent. Whether and how the US will succeed is one other question.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by Ambassador Tran Duc Mau are of his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Hanoi Times.