Mattis’ trip comes amid reliable strengthening US – Vietnamese ties.
Vietnam is the second destination of James Mattis’ Asia week-long trip, following Indonesia. The visit aims to reinforce the bilateral relationship between two governments and military forces.
US Defense Secretary James Mattis started his visit to Vietnam.Photo source: US Department of Defense
The Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich would chair the welcome ceremony and meet his U.S counterpart today. This is the third time two officials met since their first in Washington D.C., in 2017. Both sides are expected to discuss freedom of navigation in the East Sea and the respect for international rule of law and national sovereignty.
In advance, during US President’s state-level trip to Vietnam on November 2017, two sides committed to deepen the military cooperation and mutual effort to cope with regional security challenges.
Vietnam and US set first brick for defense tie since their signing the 2011 memorandum of understanding that set out the five areas of defense cooperation: high-level dialogues; maritime security; search and rescue; humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and peacekeeping…
The tie continues to be enhanced under the “Joint vision statement on Defense Relation” inked in 2015. With the statement, cooperation areas are put in more strategic framework.
Professor Carl Thayer of Australian Defence Force Academy believed that the US Secretary of Defense James Mattis is coming to Hanoi to promote the new U.S. National Security Strategy (NSS) new U.S. National Defense Strategy (NDS). “The NSS lists Vietnam first among a group of four Southeast Asian countries that the Trump Administration views as partners for regional security,” he told Hanoitimes
one day before the trip. “The NDS has three main “lines of effort” the second of which is for the US to build more trust with allies and partners. This includes Vietnam.”
“Secretary Mattis’ priority is to determine what level of engagement Vietnam wants to pursue with the US and what specific needs that Vietnam would like addressed,” Carl Thayer added.