During Joe Biden’s visit to the capital of Vietnam, the United States and Vietnam will enhance their relationship while considering the role of China.

US President Joe Biden is visiting the capital of Vietnam on Sunday. Both countries are expected to declare themselves as strategic partners, while the United States seeks to shift supply chains away from China, and both countries aim to counter Beijing’s military and diplomatic influence in Asia.

Biden will arrive at the Presidential Palace on Sunday afternoon for an official welcome from Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnam’s most powerful leader. He will then proceed to the Party headquarters where they will meet and deliver public statements.

This visit comes at a time when trade and investment relations between the two countries are growing, and a long-standing territorial dispute between Vietnam and China is heating up in the South China Sea. Apart from the US, Vietnam has bestowed the title of “comprehensive strategic partner” on four other countries: China, Russia, India, and South Korea.

To underscore Vietnam’s growing significance as a “friendshoring” destination for US technology companies, on Monday, executives from Google, Intel, Amkor, Marvell, GlobalFoundries, and Boeing are scheduled to meet with Vietnamese tech executives and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Hanoi.

Vietnam’s exports to the US increased by 13.6% last year to $109.39 billion, led by shipments of clothing, shoes, smartphones, electronics, and wooden furniture.

Joe Biden’s visit comes almost 50 years after the end of the highly unpopular Vietnam War, which pitted the Soviet-backed Communist government of North Vietnam against South Vietnam’s US-backed regime.

It represents “a remarkable step in the strengthening of our diplomatic ties,” and reflects the “leading role” Vietnam will play in the US partnership in the Indo-Pacific, as stated by US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan to reporters this week.

Sullivan further added, “For decades, the US and Vietnam have worked together to overcome a painful shared legacy of the Vietnam War, working hand in hand to promote reconciliation, with our service members and veterans leading the way.”

Washington has been pushing to elevate its relationship with Hanoi from a “comprehensive” partnership, which has been the designation for the past decade, to a “strategic” partnership. However, Vietnam has been cautious, considering the risk of antagonizing China, a neighboring giant that supplies critical inputs for Vietnam’s vital export trade, as well as Russia, another traditional partner.

Vietnam is also in talks with several other countries to upgrade and expand its mostly Russian-made arsenal, including the Czech Republic, and has recently engaged in multiple high-level defense meetings with top Russian officials.

However, last week, a US government commission accused Vietnam of backsliding on religious freedoms, stating that the country was on a “similar trajectory to China in terms of its regulation and control of religion.”