12 March 2018
Analysts tend to agree that the recent visit of a U.S. aircraft carrier to Vietnam has sent a powerful signal to China that the United States is in the South China Sea to stay.
But aside from the five-day port call’s symbolic significance, several expert analysts caution that Vietnam’s next steps in strengthening defense ties with the U.S. are likely to be both cautious and carefully calibrated.
“The visit always was viewed by both sides as largely symbolic, so at that level it can be viewed as a success,” said Murray Hiebert, a Southeast Asia expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington D.C.-based think tank.
Collin Koh Swee Lean, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, says regarding the carrier’s visit, “I’d caution against getting too far ahead of ourselves in over-reading the ramifications.”
“The follow-on steps will likely remain calibrated and incremental,” says Dr. Koh. “No quantum leaps.”
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 13/03/2018