Vietnam Embraces U.S. Regional Role

In a meeting with the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, the Vietnamese Vice Defense Minister declared Hanoi’s support for the U.S.’ regional role and the “Pivot to Asia.” He went on to say that Vietnam would support the U.S. so long as its presence “brings peace, stability and prosperity." Relations between Vietnam and the U.S. have continued to improve over the past few years.
The Cipher Take: This is good news at a time when some of the U.S.’ historically strong relationships with Southeast Asian countries have been under strain. The U.S.’ oldest regional alliance, with Thailand, has been on the rocks since that country’s coup in 2014. More recently, the strength of the alliance with the Philippines has grown uncertain under President Duterte. Vietnam’s growing prosperity and desire to have a balance to China make it a positive regional partner, but the country still maintains its longstanding policy of no alliances; the relationship will be limited, for now.


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