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.
Hanoi is the first Southeast Asian nation arming its submarines with land attack cruise missiles.
Vietnam is in the process of acquiring 50 anti-ship and land attack 3M-14E Klub supersonic cruise missiles for its burgeoning fleet of SSK Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines, Der Spiegel Online reports.
According to the article, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) recently updated data on its website, based on information obtained from the United Nations’ register of conventional arms, indicating that Russia has already delivered 28 missiles over the last two years to Hanoi, although the precise number remains unknown. Continue reading