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With China-Vietnam relations deteriorating, Vietnamese officials have inched closer to U.S. allies, including Defense Secretary Esper. U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, center, and Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich review an honor guard in Hanoi, Vietnam, Nov. 20, 2019 (AP photo by Hau Dinh).

Vietnam, Under Increasing Pressure From China, Mulls a Shift Into America’s Orbit

Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020

With China-Vietnam relations deteriorating as a result of Beijing's provocations, Hanoi has signaled a possible shift in alliances. Whether Vietnam actually follows through, though, likely depends on who takes over the ruling Communist Party during next year's National Congress.

In a major new defense white paper, its first in 10 years, Vietnam has begun signaling that it could abandon its long-standing foreign policy strategy of hedging between major powers like China and the United States and move more definitively into Washington’s orbit. These documents are generally full of turgid jargon, but this one, released late last year, is unusually blunt, with a warning to China about the consequences of stepping up its aggressive behavior toward Vietnam in the South China Sea. ...

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