Vietnam to join US-led interdiction exercise in Pacific

By Truong Son, Thanh Nien News

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Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman at the press briefing on July 31. Photo credit: Dan Tri Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman at the press briefing on July 31. Photo credit: Dan Tri

Vietnam will participate in an exercise called Fortune Guard 2014, in Honolulu, Hawaii, from August 4-7 as an observer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Le Hai Binh said at a press briefing on Thursday.

Binh said Vietnam's participation came following an invitation from the US Department of Defense and was arranged following North Korea's repeated testing of nuclear weapons this year.

On Tuesday, the department described the exercise as marking the beginning of a six-year series of exercises that various “expert” nations in the region will host--including New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Japan, South Korea and the United States.

Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, the commander of the US Pacific Command, told AP this represents the first such exercise to be hosted by the US in the Pacific. The US has invited 35 nations to participate, including China--18 countries have agreed. 
Confirmed participants include Australia, Japan, South Korea, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Canada, India, Indonesia and Thailand, he said.

Portions of the exercise will be conducted at sea, including a role-playing event involving service members boarding a vessel as an interdiction rehearsal, according to AP, which described the exercise as designed to prevent the flow of nuclear weapons to the region.

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