Why Vietnam wants US weapons

As US President Barack Obama announced the lifting of the decades-long embargo on sales of lethal weapons to Vietnam, he seemed at pains to explain the decision “was not based on China or any other considerations”.

Yet his mention of China reveals some of the greatest security concerns brewing in Hanoi.

Since a brief but bloody border war in 1979 that cost thousands of lives, Vietnam-China relations have been bumpy to say the least. From being Vietnam’s biggest ally, ironically, in the war against the United States, China has increasingly been seen as a dominant, and at times, threatening neighbour.

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