Chinese leader Xi Jinping starts a two-day visit to Vietnam on Tuesday, three months after U.S. President Joe Biden traveled to Hanoi as the two great powers vie for influence in the Southeast Asian nation.

The trip, Xi's first in six years, has been months in planning and was even briefly considered to take place days before Biden's visit, according to officials.

It is aimed at boosting relations between the two communist-ruled countries, which have very close economic ties but are at odds over boundaries in the South China Sea and have a millennia-long history of frequent conflict.