ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS FORT LEAVENWORTH United States
In 1995, U.S. President Bill Clinton visited Vietnam, the first official visit by a U.S. President since the end of the Vietnam War, marking a milestone in breaking freezing ice in the two erstwhile adversaries rapprochement. Since the diplomatic normalization in 1995, the Vietnam-United States relationship has taken giant steps forward in virtually every aspect, especially solidified by a Comprehensive Partnership Agreement signed by the two Presidents in 2013 creating an overarching framework for advancing the bilateral relationship. Although Vietnam and the United States are geographically separated by the Pacific Ocean, they share a number of common interests and issues in the South China Sea. Consequently, naval cooperation will be one of the most significant areas of cooperation. This research examines viability of the current VN-US naval relationship and how it is impacted by other actors, China and ASEAN in particular. The study concludes that strategic partnership should be a viable platform for future relationship between Vietnam and the United States. Finally, this research suggests a framework for naval cooperation between Vietnam and the United States featured by three lines of effort addressing human rights issues, adjusting IMET and enhancing weapon sales, naval exercises, logistics cooperation and information sharing.