U.S. Competes With China for Vietnam's Allegiance


Vietnam's leaders have made plain they want the United States on their side for equilibrium against China, a longtime occupier. Vietnam, though an ideological ally of Beijing, fears an expanding Chinese sphere of influence and being reduced to an economic appendage by China, its northern neighbor.

It has fought wars against China, most recently in 1979. But now, relations have "never been so good," said Ton Nu Thi Ninh, the vice chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the National Assembly.

"But that doesn't mean they're perfect," she added.

The Bush administration, also concerned about Beijing's designs in Asia, is happy to provide a counterweight.

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