In a surprise to many observers, the U.S. Navy has pulled into port in Vietnam for the first time since the Vietnam War. The USS Carl Vinson – an aircraft carrier – accompanied by a cruiser and a destroyer visited the central coastal city of Danang recently in an effort to bolster the U.S. relationship with Vietnam and curtail China’s increasing efforts to expand its military presence into the South China Sea primarily by creating numerous man-made islands. Richard Bush, co-founder of the Center for East Asia Policy Studies said "Our hope would be this would restrain China in its various activities in the South China Sea." As we have been reporting to you, China has been increasing its military buildup in the Paracel islands and seven artificial islands in the Spratlys in maritime territory that is also claimed by Vietnam. Bush stated, “For China to push the envelope in this way only drives Vietnam and the Vietnamese people into the arms of the United States.” U.S. President Donald Trump said the visit offers a chance to enhance regional security and defense relations between the two countries. The United States officially normalized relations with Vietnam in 1995 and lifted an arms embargo in 2016. Since then the two former enemies have taken repeated diplomatic measures to improve relations in all areas.U.S. Aircraft Carrier in Vietnam
Stirring Up Troubled Waters
As we began reporting to you in 2015, China has been dredging and filling an unprecedented amount of area in order to create artificial islands upon which they have since stationed heavy artillery capable of firing upon neighboring islands, early warning radar stations, and built a runway 10,000 feet in length that is suitable for all manner of military aircraft. The Associated Press reported that a U.S. official commented about concerns that China “is working to build a perimeter around the South China Sea so it could claim the entire region as its own economic zone, with rights to all of the abundant natural resources there.” Such action would endanger the tenuous situation in this region as, geographically, the Spratly Islands are more than 600 miles from China’s shoreline placing them much closer to Malaysia, the Philippines and even Vietnam, than they are to mainland China. China officially claims nearly all of the sea and has been contesting the rights of its smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons. China has characterized its moves as defensive in nature and has repeatedly accused U.S. warships of making provocative passes through the region. Thus, many officials are concerned about this situation leading to a growing relationship between the U.S. and Vietnam.
Relevant Bible Passages
An even more pressing concern is the way in which these events parallel many political signs often associated with the end times and those which are thought to precede Christ’s Second Coming (Matthew 24:6-7; Mark 13:7-8; Luke 21:10). It is alarmingly that as the Chinese navy seemingly prepares for military conflict over a group of man-made islands that are closer to many other countries than they are to China, that these “wars and rumors of war” continue to circulate as the tenuous condition escalates. While the exact role of China in Bible prophecy is uncertain, many prophecy teachers point out that China is one of the few nations on the earth that could muster the army of 200 Million troops mentioned in Revelation 9:16.