Russian Navy is Returning to Cam Ranh Bay

Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Nguyen Thanh Sean says that his country is not opposed to the Russian Navy returning to the base in Cam Ranh Bay, on the condition that its presence is not directed against any third country. Will Russia take the opportunity to regain a foothold in Southeast Asia? Svobodnaya Pressa journalist Anton Mardasov explores.

Speaking to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti earlier this week, Nguyen Thanh Sean explained that “Vietnam’s policy is not to enter military alliances or to ally with any one state against another.”

During the interview, Nguyen Thanh Sean also said that Hanoi plans to continue defense cooperation with Russia, and added that Vietnam has always considered Russia to be “a close country, and a traditional partner,” and that a “relationship of trust with Russia is a priority of Vietnamese foreign policy.” Continue reading

US counters China in ending Vietnam arms embargo

HANOI — In lifting its ban on sales of lethal weaponry to Vietnam, the U.S. seeks to curb the growing Chinese presence in the South China Sea as Hanoi tries to strike a diplomatic balance between the Western superpower and a longtime Asian ally.

“More than two decades of normalized ties between our governments allows us to reach a new moment,” U.S. President Barack Obama said here Monday in a news conference with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang.

“Both countries have completely normalized relations,” Quang said, ushering in a new era of bilateral ties.

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Japanese submarine, destroyers arrive in Philippines for port call near disputed South China Sea waters

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The Maritime Self-Defense Force training submarine Oyashio, escorted by the destroyer Ariake (background), one of two vessels that accompanied the sub, arrives at Subic Bay in the Philippines on Sunday. | AFP-JIJI

 

A Maritime Self-Defense Force flotilla of three ships arrived in the Philippines early Sunday on a goodwill visit — the first to include a Japanese submarine in 15 years — amid China’s growing assertiveness in the region.

The training submarine Oyashio, accompanied by the destroyers Ariake and Setogiri, made a port call at Subic Bay, home of a former U.S. naval base, ahead of planned open sea drills. Some 500 Japanese personnel, including 55 officer candidates, are taking part in the confidence-building exercise. Continue reading

PLA base on Fiery Cross Reef could tip balance in South China Sea

Over the past year, Beijing has been particularly aggressive in conducting reclamation activities on Chinese-controlled reefs and islets in the Spratlys, parts of which are which are also claimed by Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.

Following the most recent period of construction, China is said to have essentially “created” five new islands from existing reefs, including Fiery Cross Reef, which has reportedly become the largest island in the Spratlys. Continue reading