Vietnam-US relations have kept strengthening since bilateral normalization in 1995, including in the defence and strategic domains. This has turned the two countries into increasingly important security partners for each other.
The shared perception of the China threat, especially in the South China Sea, provided the strongest momentum towards bilateral strategic rapprochement in recent years despite the strategic uncertainties generated by the Trump administration. Such strategic dynamics also shaped Vietnam’s supportive view of the US-led regional and global orders.
In the short to medium term, challenges for bilateral relations include the further improvement of mutual trust and the building up of Vietnam’s capacity to participate in more substantive defence cooperation initiatives with the United States. In the long run, how to balance its strengthening ties with Washington and the troubling yet important relationship with Beijing remains a challenge for Hanoi.
Vietnam’s support for the US-led rules-based international order should remain persistent, but will vary depending on the shifting dynamics in Vietnam’s relations with China as well as Sino-US strategic competition.