Vietnam Orders Fleet of Russian Subs, Sending Message to China

In what may be a not-so-stealthy message to Beijing amid citizen protests of China’s growing influence in its country, Vietnam has ordered a small fleet of silent Russian attack submarines.

Foreign policy experts say Vietnam’s national identity is bound up in the idea of opposition to China, and the deal to buy the subs is the latest sign that the country of 87 million is concerned about “Sinification.”

By Joseph Abrams
Fox News

“The Vietnamese government is committed to a normal relationship with China, but nobody in Vietnam sleeps with their China eye closed,” said Brantly Womack, professor of foreign affairs at the University of Virginia.

“A good part of Vietnam’s patriotic identity is its righteous resistance to China.”

Vietnam’s $1.8 billion deal with Russia for six Kilo-class submarines is a substantial order for the tiny, struggling country, whose annual military budget is estimated at just $3.6 billion, according to Jane’s Intelligence Review.

Above: Kilo submarine
While not a signal of an arms race, “it’s something that is pretty clearly a response to Chinese buildups” of force in the area, said Womack….

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