13:33 GMT +305 December 2016
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    U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Vietnam's President Tran Dai Quang after an arrival ceremony at the presidential palace in Hanoi, Vietnam May 23, 2016.

    Vietnam Backs US ‘Intervention’ in Pacific Amidst Dwindling Asian Pivot

    © REUTERS/ Carlos Barria
    Asia & Pacific
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    Top defense officials from Hanoi and Washington met Monday to discuss the role of the US in the region and how Vietnam would respond to American “intervention” in Asia and the Pacific.

    As the presidency of Barack Obama winds down, there are lingering concerns over whether the new administration will give proper attention to the US’ Asian pivot — notably, the increasingly aggressive posture taken by Beijing in the South China Sea. 

    Cara Abercrombie, US deputy assistant secretary of defense for South and Southeast Asia, met with Vietnamese Senior Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh, who told Ambercrombie that Vietnam would support a positive US presence in the region.

    In August Vietnam quietly outfitted several of its islands within the embattled South China Sea area with mobile rocket launchers poised to strike Chinese military installations, if necessary.

    Deputy Defence Minister, Senior Lieutenant-General Nguyen Chi Vinh said at the time, "It is within our legitimate right to self-defense to move any of our weapons to any area at any time within our sovereign territory." 

    The US tried to cool tensions and encourage diplomacy, with one defense official saying, "We continue to call on all South China Sea claimants to avoid actions that raise tensions, take practical steps to build confidence, and intensify efforts to find peaceful, diplomatic solutions to disputes."

    The Japan Times quotes a statement released by the Vietnamese Defense Ministry after the meeting, saying that Vinh "affirmed that Vietnam will support the US and other partners to intervene in the region as long as it brings peace, stability and prosperity," adding that the US does not intend to shift its "rebalance" efforts which seeks to expand Washington’s presence in the Pacific.

    Some the traditional US partnerships in the region are also in flux, as President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has been vocally critical of Washington, and relations with Thailand have been strained since the 2014 coup.

    Meanwhile the relationship between Washington and Hanoi has become closer since May, when the US lifted its lethal arms embargo on the southeast Asian country. BBC quoted Obama remarking at the time that the embargo decision was "based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving towards normalisation with Vietnam… this change will ensure that Vietnam has access to the equipment it needs to defend itself."

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    Tags:
    South China Sea dispute, pivot to Asia, US Department of Defense (DoD), Washington, DC, United States, Hanoi, Vietnam
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    • goldcamshaft
      Ho Chi Minh must be rolling over in his grave to see his sons and daughters embracing the same enemy that used napalm and agent orange on his people and killed a lot of Vietnamese.
      Question is: would there have been a normalization of relations which includes ensuring that Vietnam has access to the equipment it needs to defend itself, if it were not solely to fend off China?. Would it have been the same access to the equipment it needed to defend itself if Vietnam was in dispute with its former colonial masters, the french?
      Another question: Is there a probability that the usa will change its color and mindset and bring about a positive US presence in the region? Since when has there been a positive feeling about US presence, anywhere on earth?
    • michael
      let's see how long this lasts.
    • peaceactivist2
      This guy must be a south Vietnamese that he seen no dev.il, hear no dev.il in 1968-73. Otherwise, his uncles would be turning in their graves
    • Box 1
      STOP the spread of the USA cancerous global warmongers.
      send the yanks home, every region they go they bring destruction
    • DerExperte
      Vietnam is not really interested in the diplomatic move by the US in the first place. But they see an opportunity to use the US Relationship to create a bigger leverage for the future talk and possible agreements with China.
    • Hermes
      I don't understand how the vietnamese that have suffered so much can tolerate an american puppet regime. They must have lost all sense of dignity.
      As an american tool they are a serious threat to the security of the region.
    • mzungu in Africa
      "affirmed that Vietnam will support the US and other partners to intervene in the region as long as it brings peace, stability and prosperity,"

      One must read the whole article and not just the headline.
      At the same time Russia gets a naval base in Vietnam. Vietnam does not want to be involved in war, that's all I can see.
    • Drain the swamp
      This vietcong seems to have eaten pawpaw contaminated with agent orange, very strange bahaviour.
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