The French Air Force has returned to Vietnam, 54 years after leaving. The breakthrough in the long-frozen relationship was part of a larger trip—including a military exercise and a multistop tour of Southeast Asia aimed at tempering Chinese influence in the region. That growing influence is prompting something of an arms race in the area. China itself is buying and building a massive array of weapons. India, which sees Pakistan at its No. 1 threat with China a close second, is ...

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