Vietnam has suddenly become more important to Washington as the United States and China are increasingly at loggerheads over the South China Sea, one of the world’s most vital trading routes. Vietnam is crucial because of its strategic position bordering China, its large population of nearly 100 million and its long coastline on that sea.
“We do think we should have a steady improvement in our relationship with the Vietnamese military,” General Dempsey told reporters here on Saturday. “I would suggest as goes Vietnam in managing its maritime resources and territorial disputes, so goes the South China Sea.”
During his three-day visit, General Dempsey met in Hanoi with Vietnam’s most senior officer, Gen. Do Ba Ty, who last year traveled to Washington, where he was entertained at the chairman’s home. General Dempsey visited Vietnamese vessels and met with their crew in Da Nang, once the site of a major American military base.
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