US diplomat visits Vietnam days after Russia’s Putin

US diplomat visits Vietnam
days after Russia’s Putin
FILE - U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink speaks in Taguig, Philippines on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. On Saturday, June 22, 2024, the senior U.S. diplomat held talks in Vietnam and said that the trust between the two countries was at an “all time high,” just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin's state visit to Hanoi. AP

HANOI, Vietnam — A senior United States (US) diplomat held talks in Vietnam on Saturday, June 22, 2024, and said that the trust between the two countries was at an “all-time high,” just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s state visit to Hanoi.

US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink insisted that his trip was unrelated to Putin’s visit on Thursday, June 20. Vietnam had elevated the United States to its highest diplomatic status, comprehensive strategic partner, last year, putting it at the same level as China and Russia. The elevation of the US ties suggested that Vietnam wanted to hedge its friendships as Western companies look to diversify their supply chains away from China.

Kritenbrink was speaking at a briefing for selected media in Hanoi. A recording of the interaction was reviewed by The Associated Press.

Putin’s trip to Hanoi had triggered a sharp rebuke from the US Embassy in Hanoi, which said that “no country should give Putin a platform to promote his war of aggression and otherwise allow him to normalize his atrocities,” referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, now in its third year.

The American East Asia envoy echoed those concerns but said that he made it clear to Vietnamese officials that the “main reason” for his trip was the partnership between the US and Vietnam. He met Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son. / AP

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