What comment did experts make about the USS Roosevelt’s visit to Vietnam? This is a question not only of the people of Vietnam, but perhaps even China is closely following
Experts assess that USS Theodore Roosevelt’s visit to Danang on March 5 shows that Hanoi attaches greater importance to defense relations with Washington, confirming the new defense policy as states in the Defense White Paper released at the end of 2019, and sending a clearer message to Beijing. At the same time, Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said this was just a “regular” visit.
Mr. Nguyen The Phuong, a researcher at the National Research Center, Ho Chi Minh City University of Sciences and Humanities, stated: “The visit of the USS Roosevelt shows that the US-Vietnam defense relationship has deepened, especially after Vietnam added in its Defense White Paper released in late 2019 that if anything happens to Vietnam’s security, Hanoi would increase cooperation with a certain country …
“This visit shows that Vietnam affirms its increasing relationship with the US.”
“There was information that the US requested the visit to be made last year but Vietnam refused that time due to its internal situation and the actual situation in the East Sea (South China Sea).
“Therefore, it shows that Vietnam carefully considered its balance policy between China and the US.”
Vietnam’s Defense White Paper 2019 states: “Depending on the situation and under specific conditions, Vietnam will consider developing necessary defense and military relations with appropriate levels on the basis of respect each other’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.”
Also on March 5, Vietnamese media quoted Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang as saying: “US Aircraft carriers and cruisers visit Tien Sa port in Danang on March 5-9. This is a regular visit of the US aircraft carrier as part of the 25th anniversary activities of establishing bilateral diplomatic relations.”
Dr. Nguyen Nha, a senior researcher on the East Sea issues, stated: “USS Theodore Roosevelt is the most modern aircraft carrier of the US as well as the world and when visiting Vietnam, the US intends to give Vietnam special privileges – the most modern things will be for Vietnam – also demonstrates a close relationship with Vietnam, ready to protect Vietnam when needed.”
“This visit follows the historic visit of 2018 by USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), the first visit of a US aircraft carrier to Vietnam in more than 40 years. The visit also took place at an important time for our bilateral relations. Only 25 years after normalizing diplomatic relations, the bilateral relations of the two countries have become stronger than ever,” US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink said in a statement on March 5.
Dr. Nguyen Nha analyzed the messages of the US Navy ship’s visit to Vietnam:
“USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier along with modern ships to enter the East Sea, despite China’s claim of the sea as its own pond.
“This is a message to China about freedom of navigation under international law, especially the Hague International Court which rejected China’s U-shaped line when the Philippines sued China,” Dr. Nguyen Nha said.
“This is also a message for China not to bully small countries like Vietnam, at which time the USis ready to support.” Also shows that the US has now changed and is ready to use military force to cope with China.”
Earlier, on March 3, Professor Carl Thayer, an Australian defense analyst, said in a statement: “This visit is part of a larger defense relationship between the US and Vietnam to deliver strong messages to China about Beijing’s aggression in the East Sea. The Roosevelt’s visit is a signal of the US showing that it intends to maintain superior naval power in the Western Pacific and the East Sea.”
Researcher Nguyen The Phuong commented that the visit of the USS Roosevelt showed that Hanoi tends to be closer to Washington, while maintaining a balance with Beijing: “The Vietnam-US defense relationship is at the peak of the past 25 years. Vietnam tends to expand relations with the US but in fact is considering how the US-Vietnam relationship is balanced with the Vietnam-China relationship to avoid difficulties in the relationship with the northern neighbor.”
Dr. Ha Hoang Hop commented: “From the diplomatic circles, from the government circles, to individuals in China, the opinions are very diverse. But in conclusion, one common thing is that Beijing is not happy with the current visit.”
Citing Chinese researchers, Russian online newspaper Sputnik wrote that the US ship’s visit to Danang was a challenge for China.
“Since 2014, the US and Vietnam have been constantly upgrading bilateral relations in the military field. Two visits to Vietnam in a year by the US Secretary of Defense and Vietnam’s purchase of weapons and patrol boats from the US demonstrates it clear,” said Chen Xiangmuo, an expert at the China Maritime Research Institute.
“The US and Vietnam reached a consensus on the carrier’s visit to Danang shortly after the confrontation between China and Vietnam in the Vanguard Bank area in the East Sea last year can be considered a plan against China. Clearly, Vietnam is trying to use tough US foreign policy to deal with China’s growing influence in the East Sea.”
“China has always focused on ensuring stability in the East Sea through the development of an agreement or a Code of Conduct with the participation of countries in the region. China does not look to other countries out of the region to resolve disputes, as this will make the situation more tense and more difficult.”
“Vietnam is China’s neighbor. From this perspective, for China, Vietnam is of greater importance than the US. China’s most important diplomatic mission is to maintain diplomatic contact and stable military with Vietnam.
China does not want serious alienation or conflict in its relations with Vietnam, and does not want to create opposition in relations with the US and Vietnam.
“At the same time, the US expansion of its military presence in the East Sea challenges Beijing’s interests and poses a threat to China’s national security. In response, China should strengthen its naval power.”
Dr. Bill Hayton said: “I remember that about two years before the US aircraft carrier visited Vietnam, a Chinese spokesman said it was an act of hostility and criticised the US of causing regional tension.”
Asked whether the US now and in the future could help Vietnam in protecting its independence, sovereignty, and defense in the region and at sea, Bill Hayton said: ” There are two parts to this question: First, is it possible for the US to provide equipment such as ships and radars to Vietnam to help Vietnam protect its interests in the East Sea? The answer is yes and the US can do it.
“But the other part is whether these visits and equipments help protect Vietnam, I think not.”
“And I will answer in detail as follows. For example, two years before the Carl Vinson aircraft carrier visited Vietnam, when the American ship arrived at that time, I remembered that Vietnam was having a gas exploration project at that time inside their continental shelf.
“After the Carl Vinson ship left, it was China ‘s turn to bring in its ship and have forced Vietnam to halt its project.
“We see that American ships can stay there for a few weeks, short time, can protect Vietnam, but when that ship has gone, China still does what they want.”
Vietnam claims its sovereign over the Truong Sa and the Hoang Sa (Paracels), but the irony is that despite they share the same ideology communism, China has invaded and annexed this vast area of sovereignty of Vietnam.
Now, only the US and democratic countries continue to support Vietnam when Hanoi is facing Beijing’s aggression.
Vietnam is independent, but there is no Freedom. Democratic nations in the world can help Vietnam abandon the totalitarian regime to return to civilization.
Trung Nam from Da Nang – Thoibao.de (Translated)