U.S. Ends Arms Embargo with Vietnam, Claims China not a Factor

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U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang to end the arms embargo. (Photo: Washington Post/Reuters)

In a bold move by the Obama administration, the President ended the arms embargo on Vietnam that has been in place for decades. The embargo is being lifted in at a time of increased tensions between the U.S. and China in military and economic sectors.

U.S.-Vietnamese relations have been improving steadily in recent years and the Vietnamese economy is also doing very well. Ending the arms embargo will help Vietnam equip their forces at home and reduce their dependence on Russia for small arms.

When it comes to exports to Vietnam Obama said sales will be determined on a case-by-case basis according to standard export practices. Any sales will be weighed against the state of Vietnamese human rights and other conditions before going through.

“Sales will need to still meet strict requirements, including those related to human rights, but this change will ensure that Vietnam has access to the equipment it needs to defend itself,” said President Obama after meeting with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang, reports the BBC.

The arms embargo against Vietnam was put into place in 1984 in an effort to improve human rights standards across the country. The administration maintains that this is not in response to worsening relations with China and is part of an agreement with Vietnam to purchase over 100 Boeing aircraft in a deal worth billions.

Last week Chinese fighters intercepted an American reconnaissance plane flying over the South China Sea. According to Pentagon reports, the Chinese aircraft forced the American plane to move to a lower altitude by maneuvering above it at dangerous distances in international airspace. Chinese authorities defended the action, claiming sovereign authority of the airspace above several man-made islands in the South China Sea.

China and Vietnam are no strangers when it comes to border disputes, and although both countries are technically Communist, they don’t see eye-to-eye when it comes to territories, especially islands in familiar waters. As with the U.S., China has butted heads with Vietnam over who owns what in the South China Sea.

Chinese newspapers warn the U.S. not to turn Vietnam into a “regional tinderbox” amid stressful times. “Both [Vietnam and the U.S.] are clearly willing to let go of the lingering vestiges of war to complete the lengthy process of normalizing bilateral relations that started years ago,” writes the China Daily news. “But whatever common interests the two countries pursue, they should never compromise China’s national interests and threaten regional security.”

“If you want to point to the possibility of tinderbox and possibly igniting something, I would caution China, as President Obama and others have, to not unilaterally move to reclamation activities and the militarization of the islands and areas that are part of the claims being contested today,” said Secretary of State John Kerry, reports the Washington Post.

See Also: Kalashnikov Concern responds to Sanctions

Beyond giving Vietnam more options when it comes to defense the decision is also likely to curb Russian exports in favor of American small arms. The Obama administration has specifically targeted Russian finance and small arms interests in reaction to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, part of Ukraine.

In 2014, the administration placed sanctions against Russia blocking all Kalashnikov Concern imports to the U.S. The newly-formed Kalashnikov Concern holds several gun brands that were popular low-cost options in the U.S. including Saiga and Baikal.

It’s possible that in the long run this could mean inexpensive imports from Vietnam as well, as their economy continues to grow. “This is the fastest-growing part of the world,” said the President.

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • David August 4, 2017, 9:39 am

    “Coming soon to a GM dealer near you”. Gm pledged that no Chinese Buicks would come to the US and now they are. There is a GM assembly plant now in Hanoi making small Chevrolets. “Apple pie and Chevrolet” my foot.

  • loupgarous June 2, 2016, 1:02 pm

    For Obama, it’s just professional courtesy, one communist to another. And the article commits a crucial error by calling China and Vietnam “technically communist.” They are, along with North Korea, actually communist, among the handful of totalitarian states remaining on Earth. Even Russia has vestiges of multiparty rule, but China and Vietnam are one-party, top-down murderous oligarchies/

    Obama seeks to use the UN Small Arms Treaty to disarm Americans at home while hypocritically arming Vietnam’s government – and it admits this openly – not against China, Against whom, then? The only logical answer is “against the people of Vietnam,”

    The same logic applied when Obama bought submachine guns for every civilian agency in the Federal government from the Department of Agriculure to the Weather Service – no plausible domestic threat existed for that. The only enemy Obama could have had in mind was the American people. His administration kept a man on the payroll in the Department of Homeland Security who maintained a racist Web site which advocated the murder of people who belonged to the white race. This man’s job was purchasing ammunition and weapons for the Department of Homeland Security. Four months elapsed from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s discovery of this Web site before this man was finally released from employment with our nation’s government. The only reason I can see for this is a violent racist agenda in the Obama administration.

    The only issue I want to hear about from a candidate in this Presidential race is how fast the candidates will work to dismantle Obama’s socialist-racist empire in America. It’s important.

  • hey May 28, 2016, 7:16 pm

    I think one day Vietnam, China, Russia, and even our so called allies of Europe will be through the boaders of this country along the side of the Federal government with the costal states that are gun free zones being first if what is left of the normal people of the United States do not bow to the New World Order in the time of economic engineered chaos and confusion by the World’s central banks.
    Get familiar with the word Special Drawing Rights ( SDRs), the currency that bring all of the world’s banks together. You will here the term more often in the future!

  • rich May 27, 2016, 1:28 pm

    Russia just parked their nuclear subs at a Vietnamese port a year ago, that in itself is testament of their alliance. In all likelyhood they will act as purchasers of us weapons on russia’s behalf. Next time when you encounter russia military don’t be surprise they weld us weaponry. Furthermore Vietnam is a poor country, you think they spend top dollar on weaponry?

  • Winston May 27, 2016, 12:43 pm

    Vietnam should be very wary of US vultures inside in their country again.

  • Fb May 27, 2016, 11:34 am

    And yet Obama continues to try and make it more and more difficult for US citizens to defend themselves.

  • mblack May 27, 2016, 10:51 am

    `It would be nice if Vietnam started a polytech factory from China and started shipping rifles to the USA.

    • Winston May 27, 2016, 12:40 pm

      Not a chance they will again allow Chinese licensed semi-auto AK variants into the US. Polytech is the People’s Liberation Army’s manufacturing concern. No way the militarist US rah rah hoo hah neocon politicians will allow such.

      • Jon June 27, 2016, 3:05 pm

        Neocon = neo, Greek for new and con for conservative. It refers to the people who want to preserve gun rights not take them.

  • Just1Spark May 27, 2016, 9:44 am

    Im no ‘World Leader’ or anything. But seems to me, why the hell would you want to sell arms to ANY country besides your own? Especially when you dont even want your OWN citizens armed. wtf

    Those in the military should be pissed.
    But they wont be.
    This is job security.

  • Tom May 27, 2016, 9:11 am

    It has nothing real to do with policy, it’s just more of Obummer’s “in your face because I don’t like you” to the American people. Put that in the file with apologize for the atom bomb, open borders, gay rights, transgender rights, disdain for Christians and many other insults and be glad the and the criminal democrat regime will be gone in a few months.

  • Jerryj May 27, 2016, 5:34 am

    Lets see, Nixon,sold us out to China, then the Bush’s sold us out to the Moslems, then the Clintons sold us out to ANYONE,who wanted to buy them,NOW ODUMBO sells us out to VIETNAM !!!!!
    DAMN, WHAT country is left ???????
    O AFRICA can SCAM, whats left?????
    Vietnam Veteran
    1968-69-70

  • James M May 25, 2016, 10:51 pm

    Damn. Just the thought of a war between U.S. vs China is scary. Not even thinking of all the variables involved (Russia jumping in, who would actually back the U.S.) that is nightmare material.

  • taxx73 May 25, 2016, 10:14 pm

    Gee firearms can be sold from American companies to a country that not too long ago we fought a war in but God forbid that law abiding Americans be able to have those same firearms. Odumbo in action again. I’m starting to believe some of the conspiracy theorists. It really seems that the demonrats want that one world order and the people will be nothing but slaves. I don’t care what anybody says I will NOT give up my rights for anything. Too many good men and women fought and died for my rights and I will honor them by doing my best to keep them. LEAVE OUR RIGHTS ALONE!!!!!!

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