The U.S. says it’s lifting its ban on sales of fatal arms to Vietnam — a move that’s probably ruffle Beijing’s feathers and lead to an escalation in tensions between China and its neighbors in the South China Sea, according to defense and regional specialists.
Scholars consider Beijing would respond to any scenario that enhanced the ability to resist Chinese ambitions of Vietnam.
“They likely will view this possible move by the U.S. to bolster Vietnam’s maritime domain awareness in the South China Sea as an effort to stand up to China’s more assertive ambitions in the disputed waters,” said Murray Hiebert, a senior advisor and deputy director of the Southeast Asia program for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington D.C, ahead of President Obama’s visit.
Tensions have ratcheted upward in the area as China has recovered property in substantial dredging businesses, turning sandbars into isles equipped with lighthouses, ports and airfields.
Beijing has additionally warned U.S. warships and military aircraft to stay away from these isles.