In Vietnam, President Joe Biden concluded his first trip to Asia as president with a news conference marked by incoherent responses, uncomfortable jokes, and a plea for a nap. In the middle of Biden’s press conference on Sunday night as he was answering questions from the media, things suddenly changed. It was an odd moment, reminiscent of a speech at an awards ceremony that went on for far too long when the President was figuratively “played off” the stage by the sudden arrival of jazz music blasting from the loudspeaker as reported by the Hindustan Times
“We discussed stability, the Third World, excuse me, having access to change, the Southern Hemisphere. It wasn’t at all confrontational. Biden, 80, started off by rambling.
His press assistant Karine Jean-Pierre’s authoritative voice intervened to say, “Thank you, everyone,” signaling this unexpected change of events. The news conference is over now. “Thanks, everyone,” was said quickly to end the press session.
U.S. President Joe Biden addresses a press conference, in Hanoi, Vietnam, Sunday. Image source: Hindustan Times
Biden kept talking despite the fact that his microphone had been muted for a very long time. As the music grew louder, Biden eventually put away his leather-backed folder and left the stage, disappearing behind a curtain. Calming jazz tunes started playing over the loudspeakers while Biden seemed to persist in answering questions, his voice gradually being drowned out by the rising music.
Tech Leaders Converge in Vietnam:
As part of US President Joe Biden’s historic trip to the Southeast Asian nation, prominent tech executives from companies like Google and Intel met with business leaders in Vietnam as reported by AL Jazeera.
At an “innovation and investment summit” on Monday, IT leaders joined Biden and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Vietnamese businesses in attendance included electric car manufacturer VinFast, internet startup VNG, and digital wallet service Momo.
U.S. Strategic Interest in Vietnam:
The United States sees Vietnam as a pivotal component of its strategy to reduce dependence on China for critical resources like semiconductors and rare earth minerals. This strategic move seeks to diversify supply chains and enhance economic resilience.
Boosting Vietnam’s Semiconductor Industry
President Biden emphasized the need to enhance Vietnam’s semiconductor industry, a vital component of technological advancement. The commitment to assisting Vietnam in semiconductor production aligns with the broader goal of enhancing its technological capabilities.
Despite concerns about China’s influence, President Biden denied that his visit to Vietnam was aimed at containing China. Instead, he framed the trip as an effort to promote global stability and cooperation.
U.S. Firms Expand Operations in Vietnam
The White House announced several deals by US companies to expand their operations in Vietnam. Microsoft plans to develop a “generative AI-based solution tailored for Vietnam,” while chipmaker Nvidia partners with Vietnamese entities FPT, Viettel, and Vingroup. Additionally, Vietnam Airlines is set to purchase 50 Boeing 737 MAX jets, and Honeywell will collaborate with a Vietnamese partner to develop Vietnam’s first battery energy storage system.
Biden’s trip to Vietnam was marked by challenges, particularly the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine and his statements regarding Taiwan. While these issues diverted some attention from his visit, the President emphasized the global significance of addressing these matters.