Vietnam Seeks To Strengthen US, Japan Ties

Vietnam Seeks To Strengthen US, Japan Ties

PARIS — Vietnam is seeking to strengthen ties with Tokyo and Washington in a search for security against neighboring China — a fellow communist power but one whose territorial claims are raising concerns, an international relations expert said.

Vietnam has a “very complex attitude” toward China as both are communist countries and the natural policy is to avoid bad relations with a “brother communist party,” Matake Kamiya, professor of international relations at the Japanese Defense Academy, said on Tuesday at conference held by Institut de Recherche Stratégique de l’Ecole Militaire (IRSEM), a think tank at the French military’s staff college.

“But there are territorial and territorial water issues,” he said. “Many ordinary Vietnamese feel that China is a too arrogant neighbor and they have increasing sense of insecurity toward China.

“That’s why they want a partner outside southeast Asia, including Japan and to some extent even the United States,” he said.

There is rising tension in the region which risks triggering a clash of arms, said John Swenson-Wright, senior lecturer at Cambridge university. Swenson-Wright is also head of the Asia program at Chatham House, the London-based think tank.

China is building a “great wall of sand” with an unprecedented land reclamation in the South China Sea, Adm. Harry Harris, commander of the US Pacific fleet, said on Tuesday at a naval conference in Australia, the BBC reported. China is pouring sand on coral reefs and laying down concrete to create artificial islands.

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