Vietnamese flag raises at sea. Photo: Mapio
The intensified security ties take place in the context of escalating tensions in the South China Sea of which Vietnam is one of the claimants besides the Philippines and China, which claims up to 90% of the energy-rich sea, through which about $3 trillion of trade passes each year.
Here is a look into the ties.
Metal Shark handed over to Vietnam Coast Guard. Photo: Metal Shark
On April 1, the US embassy in Hanoi reported that the US had delivered six patrol boats worth US$12 million to the Vietnam Coast Guard.
The vessels are in addition to another twelve “Metal Shark” patrol boats and a high-endurance cutter which Washington provided to Hanoi in the last two years.
“Delivering these patrol vessels represents deepening US-Vietnam cooperation in the areas of maritime law enforcement, maritime search and rescue, and maritime humanitarian assistance operations within Vietnam’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zone,” the embassy said in a statement.
The Metal Shark “45 Defiant” patrol boat is manufactured in the United States by Gravois Aluminium Boats LLC. It can reach speeds of up to 35 knots and is suited for both inland and offshore use, according to the manufacturer’s website.
Before the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi at the end of February, US President Donald Trump used a meeting with Vietnamese officials to pitch arms exports from the US, according to Reuters. In a visit to Vietnam in May 2016, President Obama announced the full removal of the US’s decades-long ban on lethal arms sale to Vietnam.
Indian Coast Guard ship Vijit docks at Danang’s Tien Sa port on April 1. Photo: VnExpress
Indian Coast Guard patrol vessel Vijit on April 1 docked at a port in the central city of Danang for a four-day visit during which the Indian maritime officers will hold wide-ranging talks with their counterparts in Vietnam.
The visit reflects the strong bilateral ties and growing defense and maritime cooperation between India and Vietnam, the Indian embassy in Hanoi said.
Special maritime cooperation between the two coast guards would be central, contributing to the security and stability in the region and the world at large, the embassy said.
The ship is used for patrolling and policing maritime zones, search and rescue operations, maritime surveillance, anti-smuggling operations, pollution response against oil spillages and external fire-fighting.
The Indian officers, headed by Commandant T Ashish, will also call on dignitaries of the Vietnamese government.
Vietnamese peacekeeping force trained under the UK’s support. Photo: The Australian
A recent engagement highlighted ongoing activity in defense ties amid gains in recent years.
Last week, Vietnam and the UK held another defense-related meeting within the broader Vietnam-UK strategic partnership that has been making inroads amid wider domestic and foreign policy developments in recent years, according to The Diplomat.
The two countries have a bilateral relationship that includes a defense realm as well. Both sides have been cooperating in several areas, including the UK’s sharing of its expertise to help Vietnam in its first UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.
In other fields, London has closed ties with Hanoi as Britain moves to boost its relations with Southeast Asia post-Brexit while Hanoi sees London among a range of powers to engage across the board as it seeks to deal with a series of challenges including the South China Sea disputes.
This trend has continued on over the past year. In late November, both sides held the first iteration of the UK-Vietnam defense policy dialogue at the deputy ministerial level. They inked a cooperation document on geo-space and discussed various areas.
Last week, the defense aspect was in the headlines with another defense meeting focused on military medicine. Stuart Miller, the chief of medical operational capability at the UK defense ministry, was on a visit to Vietnam where his delegation met with a number of Vietnamese officials on boosting collaboration in this vein.
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