Asia Times: Trump Courts Vietnam to Ward Off Beijing in South China Sea

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang as his wife / Getty Images

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Once bitter enemies, the United States and Vietnam are increasing defense and intelligence cooperation in the face of growing Chinese maritime encroachment in the South China Sea.

US President Donald Trump has unveiled a program of using quiet diplomacy and behind-the-scenes discussions to block Chinese attempts to take over the South China Sea through a covert campaign of island-building and militarization. During his November 10-12 visit to Vietnam, Trump agreed to sharply increase security cooperation, including stepped-up military support and, surprisingly, intelligence cooperation.

The joint US-Vietnam statement outlines the new relationship. "The two leaders underscored that their two countries would deepen and gradually expand security and intelligence cooperation, enhancing information sharing and joint training on issues of mutual concern," it said.

Read the entire article at Asia Times.

Bill Gertz   Email Bill | Full Bio | RSS
Bill Gertz is senior editor of the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Beacon he was a national security reporter, editor, and columnist for 27 years at the Washington Times. Bill is the author of seven books, four of which were national bestsellers. His most recent book was iWar: War and Peace in the Information Age, a look at information warfare in its many forms and the enemies that are waging it. Bill has an international reputation. Vyachaslav Trubnikov, head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, once called him a “tool of the CIA” after he wrote an article exposing Russian intelligence operations in the Balkans. A senior CIA official once threatened to have a cruise missile fired at his desk after he wrote a column critical of the CIA’s analysis of China. And China’s communist government has criticized him for news reports exposing China’s weapons and missile sales to rogues states. The state-run Xinhua news agency in 2006 identified Bill as the No. 1 “anti-China expert” in the world. Bill insists he is very much pro-China—pro-Chinese people and opposed to the communist system. Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld once told him: “You are drilling holes in the Pentagon and sucking out information.” His Twitter handle is @BillGertz.

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