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  • Writer's pictureBy The Financial District

U.S., Vietnam May Negotiate Arms That Could Irk China

The Biden administration is engaged in discussions with Vietnam regarding a potential agreement for what could be the largest arms transfer in history between the former Cold War adversaries.


The package involves the sale of a fleet of US F-16 fighter jets to Vietnam, a country currently grappling with tensions with Beijing in the disputed South China Sea.



This report comes from two sources familiar with the matter and was covered by Trevor Hunnicutt and Nandita Bose for Reuters.


The proposed package, which might materialize over the next year, could solidify the newly enhanced partnership between Washington and Hanoi. It involves the sale of a fleet of US F-16 fighter jets to Vietnam, a country currently grappling with tensions with Beijing in the disputed South China Sea.



Since the lifting of an arms embargo in 2016, US defense exports to Vietnam have been limited to coast guard ships and trainer aircraft, with Russia supplying approximately 80% of the country's weaponry.


Vietnam reportedly spends around $2 billion annually on arms imports.


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The high cost of US weaponry and the training required to operate it have been significant obstacles, resulting in Vietnam acquiring less than $400 million worth of American arms over the past decade.


Washington is exploring potential financing terms for this costly equipment that could assist cash-strapped Hanoi in shifting away from its traditional reliance on lower-cost Russian-made arms.


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A US official commented, "We have a very productive and promising security relationship with the Vietnamese, and we see interesting developments from them in certain US systems. This includes anything that can enhance their capabilities for monitoring their maritime domain, potentially transport aircraft, and other platforms," as also reported by Francesco Guarascio and Mike Stone for Reuters.




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