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Thayer Vietnam US Consul and US Navy Ships Visit Da Nang

Thayer Vietnam US Consul and US Navy Ships Visit Da Nang

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Published by Carlyle Alan Thayer
An assessment of the implications of two inter-relarted events: the visit by the U.S. Consul General to the office responsible for the Paracel Islands and a U.S. Navy vist to Tien Sa port, in Da Nang.
An assessment of the implications of two inter-relarted events: the visit by the U.S. Consul General to the office responsible for the Paracel Islands and a U.S. Navy vist to Tien Sa port, in Da Nang.

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Published by: Carlyle Alan Thayer on Apr 30, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/16/2013

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Background Briefing:Vietnam: US Consul and US NavyShips Visit Da NangCarlyle A. ThayerApril 27, 2013
[clientnamedeleted]Q1.TheUSConsulGeneralyesterday"calledon"thegovernmentofficeoftheParacels,whichVietnamcallsHoangSa,inthecentralcityofDaNang.VietnamhasappointedthechairmanoftheParacelsseveralyearsagoinalargelysymbolicmovetoassertsovereigntyoverthearchipelagothathasbeenoccupiedbytheChinesesince1974.TheConsulGeneral’svisitcameontheheelsoftheUSNavydestroyerdockingApril21inthecentralportofTienSainDaNangCity.AlsoinDaNang,theUSannouncedonApril24thatfundingforaprojecttocleanupdioxin,thetoxicchemicalleftbehindbyAgentOrange,ataformerAmericanairbasewoulddoubletoUS$84million.TheprojectwasofficiallystartedinAugust2012.WhatisyourassessmentoftheConsulGeneral’svisit?Doesithaveanysignificanceatthisstage,especiallywhenChinahaspubliclyflexeditsnavalmusclesinwatersofftheVietnamesecoast?ANSWER:TheConsulisdoinghisdutybykeepingtheUSGovernmentinformedofdevelopmentsincludingVietnam.TheUnitedStatesgovernmentisnotsignalinganymajorchangeofpolicyinitspositionthatitisneutralwithrespecttoterritorialdisputesintheSouthChinaSea.TheUSshipsvisitstoDaNangarepartofalong-establishedprogramofannualshipvisitsrecentlyexpendedtoincludecooperativenavalengagementactivities.TheydonotinvolvemilitaryexercisesandaredesignedtobuildtrustandconfidencebetweentheUSandVietnamesenavies.TheUShasbeenslowtomeetitsobligationsundertheAgreementtoEndtheWarandRestorePeaceinVietnam.Inrecentyearsithasbeguntoaddressthelegaciesofwarincludingitsresponsibilitytoaddressthenegativeconsequencesofdioxin(AgentOrange).DaNangwaschosesbecauseitwastheworstAgentOrange"hotspot."TheseeventsareareaffirmationthattheUnitedStateshasnationalinterestsinmaritimesecurityandfreedomonnavigationintheSouthChinaSea.TheUSissignalingthatitisa"residentpower"intheAsia-PacificincludingtheSouthChinaSea.Q2.Somehavesaidtheseseriesofeventsmustbeconsideredfromaglobal
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