Source: wechat official account: Bu Yidao has been authorized to reprint
Pen / Sword smile & Sister Daodao
Sherman went out just a few days after Biden left Asia.
US Deputy Secretary of state Sherman flew to Vietnam today to begin a four-day “working visit”. In fact, Vietnam is only one stop of Sherman’s Asian tour. Before that, she has been to South Korea and the Philippines. After leaving Vietnam on the 13th, she will also visit Laos.
“Needless to say, China is the main issue in this series of activities.” The South China Morning Post revealed the real purpose of Sherman’s trip to Asia.
Obviously, these countries were not randomly selected by the US Senate pointing to the map
Four days from October 10 to 13, focusing on “trade and economic issues”.
Vietnam will be a stop of Sherman’s Asian tour. The website Department of the US State Department announced the news six days ago. However, it was not until yesterday that the Vietnamese side officially introduced the general content and itinerary of Sherman and his delegation’s “invited working visit to Vietnam”.
Vietnam labor daily reported that Sherman will visit Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to meet with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Li Wencheng and foreign minister Pei Qingshan. The Vietnamese foreign ministry said that the two sides would “discuss bilateral cooperation and global and regional issues of common concern”.
At first glance, the visit of the US Deputy Secretary of state is “harmless to humans and animals”.
However, the US State Department said in a statement that Sherman’s trip to Asia was intended to “demonstrate the continued commitment of the United States to India and the Pacific”. It is for this reason that her visit is generally considered not to be so simple.
Sure enough, after carefully reading the US State Department statement and relevant media reports, there is a small sentence that seems inconspicuous: Sherman will “discuss supply chain flexibility” with representatives of the private sector.
This “supply chain elasticity” has a familiar flavor.
During US President Biden’s visit to Japan, the “Indo Pacific economic framework” with obvious Anti China purpose was officially launched, and Vietnam is an initial member of the “Indo Pacific economic framework”. Supply chain elasticity is one of the four pillars of the framework, which is tied with digital economy, climate change, taxation and anti-corruption.
At this time, the US Deputy Secretary of state went to Hanoi to talk about how to implement “supply chain flexibility”. Obviously, it is necessary to follow up in time and increase efforts to win over Vietnam to challenge China’s position in the global supply chain industry chain.
Some media also immediately associated that “some American companies are trying to transfer production from Chinese factories to Vietnam”.
Similarly, in order to close relations with Vietnam, Sherman is said to announce additional support for “exploring and clearing unexploded ordnance during the Vietnam War”, so as to show that the United States is committed to solving the problems left over by the war and remove the historical obstacles to the deepening of us Vietnam relations.
Accelerating the resolution of the problems left over from the Vietnam War has always been one of Vietnam’s demands for exchanges with the United States.
It can be seen that Sherman continues the Biden administration’s “high attention” to Vietnam.
Last year, US Vice President Harris and Defense Secretary Austin visited Asia and both took Vietnam as one of their stops. Sherman has stayed in Vietnam for the longest time during her four country trip to Asia. She also hopes to “emphasize the strength of the comprehensive partnership between the United States and Vietnam” in her talks with Vietnam.
However, Hanoi’s response has not been able to meet Washington’s “expectations”.
An episode during the US ASEAN special summit in early May has made many US media “sad” for a long time. When delivering a speech at a think tank in Washington, Vietnamese Prime Minister fanmingzheng, who attended the meeting in the United States, said, “Vietnam always chooses independence between independence and dependence.”.
Before turning to the topic of “Vietnam US relations”, he also stressed in advance that “Vietnam does not choose a side station”.
Vietnam’s official statements concerning the United States include the statement of “attaching importance to the Vietnam us comprehensive partnership”, but this is obviously not the desire of Washington to “follow the United States to encircle China”.
The “ideological hostility” of the United States towards Vietnam will not dissipate easily. The two sides have obvious differences on many issues, including condemnation and sanctions against Russia. Moreover, there are so many examples of Washington “killing the donkey” after losing its use value, and Hanoi will not want to be the next “tragic case”.
Even the extent to which Biden and Sherman have talked about “supply chain flexibility” cooperation is still a question mark.
Many analysts believe that the “Indo Pacific economic framework” is really just an “empty shelf”. For example, to promote the decoupling of the supply chain from China, the United States needs to invest a lot of resources in real money for a long time, not in a day or two. However, the Biden administration has no place to raise money for this “bill” and “plan” which are prone to tens of billions of dollars in China. How can it be willing to really spend much money on it.
The first stop of Sherman’s Asian trip is South Korea.
At the end of May, the first stop of Biden’s Asian tour was also in South Korea. Less than a month later, Sherman followed. Washington’s eagerness to strike while the iron is hot and implement its commitment to strengthen the US ROK alliance can not be more obvious.
Sherman stayed in Korea for three days.
First, he held talks with the ROK US Deputy foreign ministers with the first foreign minister (Vice Minister) of the ROK foreign ministry, CHO Hyun Dong. This is the first time that the two countries have held face-to-face talks at the Vice Foreign Minister level since the establishment of the new government of the ROK.
The theme of the meeting can be imagined. According to South Korean media reports, there are mainly two items: “dealing with the Korean nuclear issue” and “deepening the global comprehensive strategic alliance between South Korea and the United States”.
“China” is still the theme word not explicitly stated in the talks between the deputy foreign ministers of the ROK and the US.
For example, when talking about the specific implementation plan for deepening the Korea US alliance, the so-called “economic and technological alliance” was within the scope of discussion. In the report, Yonhap also specifically mentioned two matters that are obviously aimed at China: “implementing the Indian Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)” and “striving to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait”.
More specifically, the talks clarified various channels of strategic communication between the ROK and the United States: ministerial strategic dialogue, deputy ministerial strategic dialogue, foreign minister defense minister level 2+2 dialogue, consultation mechanism in the economic field, as well as the “extended deterrence strategy consultation mechanism (edscg)” decided to be launched during Yin’s visit.
Just after the meeting here, the next meeting between senior officials of the two countries was arranged.
Three days later, ROK foreign minister Park Chun will hold talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington. This is the first offline meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries since the establishment of the new government of the Republic of Korea.
Moreover, South Korean President Yin Xiyue has decided to attend the NATO summit to be held in Madrid, Spain, on the 29th, and South Korean and US leaders are likely to meet again on the occasion of the meeting.
It is not only the senior officials of the ROK and the US who meet frequently, but also Japan, another “hard core” ally of the US.
Kenliang mori, deputy foreign affairs officer of Japan, made a special trip to Seoul and held a trilateral meeting with zhaoxiandong and Sherman on the 8th.
In addition to talking about the North Korean nuclear issue and the conflict in Ukraine, the meeting repeated Washington’s rhetoric once again. “Observing international norms”, “maintaining a free and fair economic order” and “promoting inclusiveness, openness and freedom in the Indo Pacific region” are nothing but acts of hegemony under the banner of “freedom”, “openness” and “justice”.
Sherman’s second stop is the Philippines.
One of her main trips was to meet President elect Marcos Jr. Sherman, on the other hand, is the highest ranking American official that Marcos Jr. has seen since he was elected.
When duterte was in power, relations between the Philippines and the United States were rather tense. According to market analysis, after the election of Marcos Jr., the United States wanted to ease relations with the Philippines. Sherman’s visit was to find out the new president’s attitude towards the United States.
The follow-up reports of the meeting by the US media put it beautifully: the two held a “positive” and “fruitful” meeting and discussed many topics, including “ensuring freedom of navigation in the South China Sea” and “promoting human rights”.
Sherman’s public speech was relatively more explicit, Full of malice to provoke Philippine China Relations: “the US Philippine friendship is deeply rooted, as is the common commitment to maintaining and strengthening the rule-based international order.” the Philippines has always been a leader and supporter of the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. “The United States is still committed to standing with the Philippine government to maintain the rules and laws that support the international maritime order. We openly oppose the infringement of Philippine sovereignty”
On the Philippine side, the stance is cautious.
Marcos said that the relationship between the Philippines and the United States is very special and “very important”. He also invited Biden to attend his inauguration ceremony on June 30, saying that it “can further strengthen bilateral relations”.
It seems that it remains to be seen if Philippine US relations want to see substantial improvement.
The last stop of Sherman’s Asian tour is Laos.
This is quite surprising. Some scholars believe that “compared with other Southeast Asian countries, Laos is closer to China. Maybe Sherman is trying to steal it from China.”
However, whether Washington can pry this “corner” is still in doubt.
ASEAN countries, including Laos, have been disappointed with the United States for many times. Use the front, not the back. At present, Washington wants to push the so-called “Indo Pacific economic framework”, which urgently needs the support of ASEAN, but forgets that the latter has its own color of balancing China, and ASEAN countries do not want to choose sides between the United States and China.
A basic reality is that ASEAN countries do not want to, and will not, become the “pawns” of the United States in geopolitical competition.