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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Obama in Asia: the US lifted the embargo on arms sales to Vietnam

It would seem strange that I, the former military correspondent for the Soviet newspaper, which came to Saigon with the South Vietnamese guerrillas and regular units of the North Vietnam, will have to write about the visit of the President of the United States of America Barack Obama, in Hanoi, the capital of the new, while still socialist Vietnam. How things have changed over the years map of the world! Vietnam with the Soviet bloc and especially the Soviet Union and China defeated the us aggressors. But now, after a few decades Vietnam and the United States teamed up against the same threat from China!

photo: Alexander Astafyev

This is the meaning of the visit of U.S. President Obama’s Vietnam. Do not hide neither Washington nor Hanoi, who had to meet Obama twice. The fact that the plane of the President of the United States arrived in Hanoi late at night or early in the morning, and so the official meeting was postponed to a later date.

The second time the meeting was more official. President Obama met the President of Vietnam Tran Dai Quang. Everything was as it was supposed to: red carpet, guard of honor, the anthems of the USA and Vietnam and so on. The most important result of the American-Vietnamese meeting was the statement of President Obama at a press conference Monday in Hanoi. He said that the United States has agreed to lift the embargo on selling weapons to Vietnam. “The United States fully lifts ban on sale of military equipment to Vietnam, which operated for approximately 50 years,” Obama said.

Vietnam has long sought the removal of the embargo on the supply of arms. The embargo was due to the fact that Vietnam got a pretty bad situation with civil rights. However, the need to protect Vietnam from the threat emanating from China, which is the neighbor of Vietnam, were more powerful.

A visit to Hanoi is part of a trip President Obama in the East Asian countries — Vietnam and Japan. As you know, China is trying to turn South China sea into their inland lake. This confront not only the United States but also other countries in the region — Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

China uses in the South China sea very interesting tactics. He uses tons of dirt gravel and stones for transformation of small reefs in the South China sea artificial Islands with its airfields and other military installations. These airfields can take warplanes.

The President Obama’s visit to Vietnam is easy to explain, if you mention that China’s military budget in 2015, conservatively amounted to about 180 billion dollars. That is by 9.8% more than in 2006, and annually. China has the largest Navy in Asia, which has 300 surface ships. He also plans to build 78 submarines with ballistic missiles by 2020. New investments are made in nuclear and anti-satellite weapons.

That’s where the background is President Obama’s visit to Vietnam and Japan.

President Obama is under pressure from some of its regional allies, and military command of the United States.

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