Kerry is back in Vietnam — his first time as Secretary of State — with a mission different
from the dozen he’s taken before. This latest round of U.S. support for Vietnam
is largely about energy: who can develop it, how they can develop it, and what
the consequences will be.
is especially important for countries bordering the South China Sea,
theoretically a potential motherlode of oil and gas in the future, but a source
of constant low-level conflict today.
Cronin, Southeast Asia program director at the Stimson Center, said that
Kerry’s reference to upstream countries and the threat they pose to Lower
Mekong countries echo historic comments made by Hillary Clinton in 2011 in
Hanoi. She made headlines, and raised hackles in Beijing, by wading into the
territorial dispute in the South China Sea.
don’t have the money to offer, and we can’t compete on aid, but we can remind
countries that they need to hang together, or they’ll hang separately,” Cronin
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