The US and Vietnam are discussing arms transfers. The package will probably include 4.5 generation F-16V Block 70 Fighting Falcon multirole fighters, reported Reuters news agency.
Beyond a half-dozen investment agreements which provided business benefits for both sides, Biden came away hailing an announcement that the United States had established a “comprehensive strategic partnership” with the communist government of Vietnam – which Hanoi already has with China, Russia, India and South Korea.
Biden was the fourth American President to visit Vietnam since the end of the war nearly 50 years ago.
He declared that the historic upgrade signalled that the US had “entered a new stage” in closer ties with Vietnam. Yet, while US-Vietnam relations are undoubtedly much-improved compared with some decades ago, Washington’s approach to Asia remains trapped in time.
“This visit is a remarkable step in the strengthening of our diplomatic ties,” US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said ahead of the visit.
“It reflects the leading role that Vietnam will play in our growing network of partnerships in the Indo-Pacific,” Sullivan said.
The potential security and strategic cooperation agreement are at an early stage, in connection with which the exact terms have not yet been outlined.
It is possible that the US will sell F-16s to Vietnam. The F-16V Block 70 was the 4.5 generation fighter jets that were the central topic of discussion during official talks in New York, Washington and Hanoi.
If the deal is agreed upon, we are in for the largest arms transfer in history between the former Cold War adversaries. You don’t need to be an expert in geopolitics to realise that China and the Russian federation will not be happy.
The think tank SIPRI also found that Russian arms exports dropped between the time frames of 2012-2016 and 2017-2023, partly because of a 71% decrease in Vietnamese arms import from Russia.
Vietnam’s existing dependency, however, was laid bare by the outdoor exhibits, with European systems primarily mounted on Russian-supplied trucks along multiple legacy Russian systems.
Vietnam’s desire to replace aging Russian-built equipment was also evident, with Cold War-era systems — such as a Su-30, Kilo class submarine, BRDM-2 scout car and 4K44 Redut-M coastal defense missiles will be replaced with American, Israeli and French military equipment.
Joining these were modern, non-Russian weapon systems acquired by Vietnam in recent years, including a European Airbus C295 tactical airlifter as well as the short- and medium-range versions of the Spyder air defense system, made by Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
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