Obama mulls expanded weapons sales to Vietnam to help thwart China

(May 23rd, 2016) U.S. President Obama is considering broadly expanding weapons sales to Vietnam to strengthen ties with Hanoi and boost regional defenses against China’s growing clout – and especially its seizure and militarization of some islands and reefs in the South China Sea, through which 30 percent of world trade in physician things is shipped.

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The Los Angeles Times says he “is leaning toward a partial lift – but has not ruled out a full suspension – of the ban on arms sales begun during the U.S. war in Vietnam and eased slightly in 2014.’’

Meanwhile, the Vietnamese government is considering a U.S. request to grant  the U.S. Navy greater access to Cam Ranh Bay, a major supply point for the U.S. military during the American war in Vietnam, and “a port with direct access to the increasingly contested islands in the South China Sea.’’