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Will Russia’s return to Cam Ranh Bay deepen rift within ASEAN?

(People's Daily Online)

15:08, August 01, 2012

At the end of July, Vietnam promised it will provide Russia with the Cam Ranh Bay as a material and technical support station, and it said that it will strengthen bilateral military cooperation.

Due to the important strategic position of Cam Ranh Bay and the history of its contention of the United States and Russia, the statement immediately attracted great concern. At the same time, due to the recent disputes in the South China Sea issue, many people think that Vietnam's move means an attempt to contain China.

In recent years, with recovery of strength, Russia began to re-expand its military present globally. In order to expand its influence in Southeast Asia, Russia is in urgent need of a fine naval port like Cam Ranh Bay. The Vietnamese side also hopes to step up bilateral military cooperation, to improve their strength.

It is worth noting that in recent years, Vietnam has become the world's second largest importer of Russian weapons. Qu Jianwen, vice president of Institute of International Relations in Yunnan University, ,said, for Vietnam, drawing Russia that has a close relationship with China to its side will make have some scruples in dealing with the South China Sea issue; on the other hand, it also helps it get “leader position” in Indochina and ASEAN.

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