Vietnam is getting closer to its rival China because neither side trusts Trump

Forbes
Ralph Jennings, Contributor
I cover under-reported stories from Taiwan and Asia.

An anti-China activist holds a poster saying ’74 (Vietnamese) martyrs live forever’ during a rally marking an anniversary of the 1974 naval battle between China and then-South Vietnamese troops over the Paracel Islands, in Hanoi on January 19, 2017. (HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images)

Less than a year ago Vietnam was counting on U.S. support in building up a defense against China. Vietnam and China have clashed over land for centuries. Now the Asian neighbors bitterly dispute much of the sea closest to their shores, with China taking more control as the world’s No. 2 economy and No. 3 military power. U.S. ex-president Barack Obama, probably hoping to contain China, lifted a decades-old ban on arms sales to Vietnam last year and from 2014 to 2016 his government spent $46 million on upgrading Vietnam’s military.

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