Vietnam wins U.S. defense pledges as tension with China grows

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (L) hosts an honor cordon for Vietnamese Defense Minister Gen. Ngo Xuan Lich (R) at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., August 8, 2017. Photo: Kevin Lamarque

Eric Beech and My Pham August 9, 2017 / 8:24 AM

WASHINGTON/HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam has won the promise of a visit from a U.S. aircraft carrier and deeper defense cooperation from the United States as strains show with China over the disputed South China Sea.

Within Southeast Asia, Vietnam has become an increasingly lonely voice in challenging Chinese claims to the vast majority of the waterway and was forced to suspend some offshore oil drilling last month after pressure from Beijing.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Vietnamese counterpart Ngo Xuan Lich in Washington on Tuesday that a strong defense relationship was based on common interests that included freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

“The Secretary welcomed Vietnam’s engagement and growing leadership in the Asia-Pacific region,” a statement from the Pentagon said.

The defense ministers agreed on a visit by a U.S. aircraft carrier to Vietnam next year – the first such visit since the Vietnam War ended in 1975. President Donald Trump discussed the possibility of a carrier visit with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc when they met at the White House in May.

The agreement was consistent with Vietnam’s diplomatic strategy of being open to all countries, said Ha Hoang Hop, a Vietnamese political analyst who has advised the government.

“Vietnam is not willing to compromise on issues of sovereignty and also makes its own preparations,” he said.

Beijing has been irritated by Vietnam’s growing defense relationships with the United States and rival Asian powers, including Japan and India.

Tension has risen since June, when Vietnam infuriated China by drilling for oil and gas in an offshore block that Beijing disputes. The exploration was suspended after diplomatic protests from China.

China was also annoyed by Vietnam’s stand at an Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting at the weekend, when it held out for language in a communique that noted concern about island-building and militarization in the South China Sea.

A scheduled meeting between Chinese and Vietnamese foreign ministers on the sidelines of the summit was canceled. China also pointed to Vietnam’s own reclamation work in the South China Sea.

Beijing is sensitive to even a veiled reference by ASEAN to its reclamation of seven reefs and its military installations in the South China Sea, which it claims in almost its entirety despite the competing claims of five other countries.

More than $3 trillion in cargo passes through the waterway every year.

Australia, Japan and the United States urged Southeast Asia and China on Monday to ensure that a South China Sea code of conduct they have committed to draw up would be legally binding and said they strongly opposed “coercive unilateral actions”.

Additional reporting by My Pham in HANOI; Editing by Paul Tait

Source: Reuters “Vietnam wins U.S. defense pledges as tension with China grows”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


6 Comments on “Vietnam wins U.S. defense pledges as tension with China grows”

  1. Najee says:

    Poor China! Her enemies like India do not listen to her attempts to solve this border dispute peacefully.


  2. Steve says:

    US and Japan are the ‘silent’ partners of India should a territorial war break out between China and India. China’s economic powerhouse is healthy and poised to overtake the US within a decade. The scoundrels are aware that the best way to slow down, cave in or crumble China’s economy is by War. The US are starting to strengthen again by silently drawing in India, Vietnam
    and hoping that the next PH President will be a pro US again. VN is encouraging US freedom of nonsense (FON), with the intention of procuring high tech weapons just like their new found brotherhood India. The Indian military is now training he VN military in jungle guerrilla warfare.

    China’s CCP should not trust the Rats in Vietnam. All the vows, promises and tea ceremonies cannot change VN’s behaviour and intentions. VN is shameless after the VN war and now seeking the bloodthirsty wolves that devastated over 3,000,000 of it’s population for defence pledges. China should encourage Chinese manufacturers to set up shop in countries that genuinely support China’s economy, especially where China is investing heavily in nations like Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka including those ‘TAN’ member states in SCO (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, etc) to avoid any economic and political backlash against VN.

    It is fairly impossible for China to take back the territories stolen by VN in the Spratlys, but should a territorial war be imminent, China should Not hesitate to grab back stolen properties after sinking the naval forces of VN.


  3. johnleecan says:

    This is good news. Hope China can wake up and see the two-faced, double crosser and ungrateful Vietnamese. Those Vietnamese won’t change their spineless attitudes just like a leopard can’t change its spots. China, no amount of your good intentions will affect how most Vietnamese feel about the Chinese – they hate China. Just like the barbaric, sadistic, cruel, unremorseful and inhuman Japanese or the envious Indians who kept on saying “we are the biggest democracy and we have freedom of speech” but have one of the top most corrupt government. There same Indians that can’t or won’t build toilets because Indians really love to rape girls and women when they go outside to urinate or defecate especially at night. The same Indians wherein they absolutely like the caste system that you’ll never hear complains from governments and human rights group just because the Indians love to come rushing forward to wipe a white man’s ass whenever they see a white man defecating.

    China, can’t you feel the knives being stabbed on your backs? Turn your head around and look. Time to avenge!


  4. Fre Okin says:

    America go begging for VN as ally in South East Asia. America have no more credibility for turning a blind eye to her allies criminal behavior as can be seen in Turkey, Japan, Indonesia, even PH for human rights abuses.

    VN is the Mother of all thieves in the Spratlys, stealing Half of the islands. VN is a Clone of India, both with a history of stealing land from her neighbors.

    Due to her overpopulation, VN is like a mini Imperial Japan waiting to get stronger and invade her neighbors decades from now. China should be ever vigilant, keep reminding VN it is Very Easy to destroy her navy and aircraft bases. So China should simulate war games in the SCS to remind VN and US not to mess with China!


  5. Simon says:

    Clearly the American is taking sides, any sides that is against China. They are praising Vietnam for “not compromising sovereignty” while on the other hand whenever they challenge China’s claims in the SCS it says all claimants are excessive and illegal.
    The Vietnamese are spineless because the Yanks ultimate goal is regime change for that country to wipe out the bitter memory of America’s defeat in the war they fought. Vietnam’s economic development rely heavily on China, the Chinese can simply cut of economic ties tio that country to a point were seaking to drill oil the SCS for Vietnam is counter productive. Politically Vietnam’s communist ruler needed China, without it they will fall.