- The Washington Times - Monday, December 16, 2013

In the face of growing tensions between China and Japan over ownership of a set of islands, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry vowed during a Monday stop in Vietnam to bolster maritime security for nations in the region friendly to America’s interests.

The Associated Press reported the United States will give $32.5 million to help out Southeast Asian nations in their defense of their oceans, and so that their ships and vessels might maintain the right to navigate the waters. Mr. Kerry specified that Vietnam will get $18 million — as well as five patrol-boats for the Vietnamese Coast Guard.

These latest monetary and ship contributions means the U.S. aid for the region will surpass $156 million over two years, AP reported.

“No region can be secure in the absence of effective law enforcement in territorial waters,” Mr. Kerry said, at a Monday news conference with Vietnam’s Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, AP reported.

Mr. Kerry heads to the Philippines on Tuesday.

But his aid announcement brings the United States deeper into a China-Japan conflict that has waged for some time, escalating in recent weeks when Chinese authorities tried to declare essentially a no-fly zone over the islands.



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