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August 15, 2014

News Briefs August 15, 2014

U.S. to deliver more weapons to Lebanese military

The U.S. ambassador to Lebanon says Washington will soon deliver additional weaponry to help bolster the Lebanese military as it faces a growing threat from militants from Syria.

Ambassador David Hale says the deliveries come in response to a request from the Lebanese armed forces for emergency assistance after Islamic militants overran a Lebanese town near the Syrian border, killing and kidnapping soldiers.

Hale did not provide a price tag for the new assistance, but said on Thursday that it is part of a long-standing partnership with the Lebanese military.

He says the U.S has provided more than $1 billion in military assistance since 2006, including over $120 million in training and equipment since October. AP

U.S. military chief visits Vietnam to boost ties

U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, held talks with Vietnamese officials Aug. 14 aimed to boosting military ties between the former foes.

Speaking to his Vietnamese counterpart Lt. Gen. Do Ba Ty before the closed-door talks, Dempsey described his visit, the first to communist Vietnam by a American chairman of the joint chiefs of staff since 1971 when the Vietnam War was on, as ├Čone of the highlights├« of his military career.

The sides will work to boost their military cooperation, with a focus on maritime security, training, and overcoming the consequences of the war, a Vietnamese Ministry of Defense statement said.

During his four-day stay, Dempsey will have talks with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Defense Minister Phung Quang Thanh. He is expected to visit a former U.S. air base in Danang in central Vietnam, where the U.S. two years ago began a landmark project to clean up Agent Orange from the site.

Part of the former base consists of a dry field where U.S. troops once stored and mixed the defoliant before it was loaded onto planes to be sprayed to deny forest cover for the communist fighters during the war.

Closer military ties between Vietnam and the United States may anger China, which has been more assertive recently on maritime claims that overlap with claims by Vietnam.

Russia is Vietnam’s main source of armaments, and Hanoi has earmarked hundreds of millions of dollars to build more vessels to improve its maritime capability. AP

U.S. military takes 1st step in relocation in Japan

Japanese officials say buoys are being floated off the southernmost island of Okinawa in one of the first steps in the relocation of an American military base.

The buoys define the area where the construction will begin on a facility in coastal Henoko that will house the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which will be relocated from a crowded residential area of Okinawa.

Okinawa houses the majority of U.S. troops in Japan. Protests against the bases have been going on for decades.

The Japanese Defense Ministry says placing of buoys began Aug. 14.

The mayor of Nago, where Henoko is located, issued a statement protesting the move. Many people on Okinawa, including Nago’s mayor, want Futenma moved completely off the island.
TV showed protesters on boats being blocked by patrol boats. AP




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