U.S. and China vie for influence infographic
Graphic shows foreign investment in Vietnam by country in 2023, and the key railway link between the two countries.


China’s Xi visits Vietnam to build on ties

By Jordi Bou

December 12, 2023 - December 13, 2023 - President Xi Jinping’s upcoming trip to Vietnam, three months after U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit, further confirms the country’s increasingly strategic role in global supply chains.

China’s President will visit Vietnam on Dec 12-13 to meet top state officials and discuss upgrading the two countries’ relations.

They will focus on areas of political security, multilateral and maritime issues, and discuss upgrading
a railway link between the two countries, which passes through Vietnam’s rare earths heartland.

Xi’s trip will come about three months after President Joe Biden’s visit to Vietnam, during which Hanoi upgraded its relationship with the U.S. to a “comprehensive strategic partnership,” the same designation it uses for China.

Vietnam has the world’s second-largest reserves of rare earths – 22 million tonnes – second only to China. Its production jumped to 4,300 tonnes last year from 400 tonnes in 2021, according to the USGS.

China is Vietnam's largest trading partner and so far this year is also the main investor, taking into account investment from Hong Kong, as many Chinese companies move south some of their operations amid trade tensions between Beijing and Washington.

Despite the booming economic links, the two communist nations are embroiled in a years-long maritime dispute in the South China Sea and fought a brief war in the late 70s.

PUBLISHED: 08/12/2023; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images