South China Sea Tension: Should China Fear US-Vietnam Alliance?

South China Sea Tension: Should China Fear US-Vietnam Alliance?
Sunrise on Eastern Sea, Vietnam Loi Nguyen Duc / Flickr CC BY 2.0
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China is reportedly concern about the alliance forming between the United States and Vietnam. According to reports, China may have to reevaluate its strategies as Vietnam seems to be moving closer to the side of the United States. Will be there more tugs of war?


Vietnam and US are Growing Closer

Things are changing in the Asia-Pacific region as Vietnam reportedly moves closer to the United States as President Barack Obama just nullified a long arms embargo in place for decades as he visited Hanoi.

“Vietnam welcomed the U.S. government decision to fully lift the ban on the sale of lethal weapons,” The Diplomat quoted Obama.

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“This change will ensure that Vietnam has access to the equipment it needs to defend itself and removes a lingering vestige of the Cold War,” Politico quoted Obama as he spoke before the reporters.

However, not everyone is happy with what transpired between the United States and Vietnam. Beijing interpreted the move as harmful to diplomatic relations and regional security.

Chinese media like People’s Daily-owned Global Times called out Obama on “exacerbating the strategic antagonism between Washington and Beijing.”

Top Chinese officials like Hua Chunying, however, offered a more reserved opinion.

“As a neighbor to Vietnam, China is happy to see Vietnam develop normal relations with all countries including the U.S.,” the official said. Although Hua emphasized that China is hoping that the move would be “conducive to regional peace, stability and development.”

China in Precarious Situation?

Nevertheless, an analyst warned that China should rethink of things as Vietnam is obviously inching closer to the United States. Even as it would be impossible for Hanoi to get advanced American weapons, still, the signs are a point of concern for Beijing.

“What worries Beijing is the prospect of an increasingly close strategic partnership between the US and Vietnam. The lifting of the arms embargo is a poignant symbol of this – and a sign of just how far US-Vietnam ties have come in recent years,” South China Morning Post quoted Ashley Townshend, a research fellow at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.

Also read: South China Sea Dispute: Japan, UK Push For Honoring The Rule Of Law

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