Archive for October 15, 2010

FRIDAY FOTO (Oct. 15, 2010)

Oh Ho!


Defense Secretary Robert Gates (left side) at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defense Minister's Meeting. (Defense Dept. photo by Master Sgt. Jerry Morrison)


How ironic is this: Former Cold Warrior Robert Gates, the U.S. defense secretary, meeting with his Asian counterparts beneath a gilded bust of communist North Vietnam’s founding father, Ho Chi Minh, at Hanoi’s Presidential Palace?

At 4GWR, we think this is one of the most remarkable images in U.S.-Vietnamese relations since Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) — on a goodwill mission to Vietnam — visited a war museum in the old Hanoi Hilton where he was held as a prisoner of war.

Gates was in Hanoi for the first-ever meeting of defense ministers from the 10-member Association of of Southwest Asian Nations (ASEAN) and their counterparts from eight other nations with a stake in the Asia-Pacific area.

During his visit, Gates also held bilateral meetings with officials from Vietnam, Japan, Australia, the Philippines and China. At the meeting with Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Liang Guanglie, Gates accepted an invitation to visit Beijing next year.

Angered by the U.S. sale of military equipment to Taiwan, China dis-invited Gates to a scheduled vist earlier this year, and called a halt to all military-to-military ties with the U.S. China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province, while the U.S. has tried to discourage Beijing from mounting an invasion of the island by selling Taiwan advanced weaponry.

In addition to the 10 ASEAN member nations – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – defense ministers from Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the U.S. attended the meeting known as ADMM-Plus (for ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus).

During the meeting, Gates called for a peaceful resolution of territorial disputes, mostly in the South China Sea. Hina has locked horns about ownership and fishing rights with Vietnam over the Paracel Islands, with Japan over the Diayou Islands (or Senaku Islands in Japanese) and with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan over the Spratlys Islands, which are believed to have large deposits of oil and natural gas beneath them.

For a slide shows of the Hanoi meeting, including Gates’ review of goose-stepping Vietnamese troops, click here.

October 15, 2010 at 12:43 pm Leave a comment


October 2010


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