Obama Plants The US Flag In Hanoi

Soth China Sea

Obama told a joint news conference with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang that disputes in the South China Sea should be resolved peacefully and not by whoever “throws their weight around”. But he insisted the arms embargo move was not linked to China.

HANOI (Reuters) – In sharp warning to China, President Obama  announced an end to its embargo on sales of lethal arms to Vietnam.  

“The decision to lift the ban was not based on China or any other considerations. It was based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving towards normalization with Vietnam,” Obama said.

LINH PHAM VIA GETTY IMAGES A poster of U.S. President Barack Obama in front of a tailor shop on May 23, 2016 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

This announcement illustrates the importance of  the TPP, .  China is Vietnam‘s biggest trade partner. But trade with the United States has swelled 10-fold over the past two decades to about $45 billion. Vietnam is now Southeast Asia’s biggest exporter to America.  The trade agreement, excluding China, provides a partner for Vietnam, along with Philippines, South Korea, Japan to debelop thier econmonies free of an overwhelming military and ecominic Chinese imperial sphere.

China’s brinkmanship over the South China Sea – where it has been turning remote outcrops into islands with runways and harbors – has forced Vietnam to recalibrate its defense strategy. Alongside the TPP, the sale of arms to Vietnam creates a Pacific version of NATO, a community of trading partners that excludes China and Russia.  Vietnam is now. along with the Philippines the strongest military balance to China’s efforts to incorporate  all the waters from the straits of Malacca to Taiwan into an imperial rule form Beijing.  Control of the South China Sea would give Beijing control of all trade form East Asia to the oil rich middle eats, a strangle hold. 


Carl Thayer, an expert on Vietnam‘s military at Australia’s Defence Force Academy, said the steep costs of U.S. arms would remain a factor for Hanoi, pushing it toward its traditional suppliers of missiles and planes, particularly long-time security patron, Russia. On the other hand, the lifting of the embargo will provide Vietnam with leverage in future arms deals with those suppliers.




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