Speculations rise as the removal of sanctions between the U.S. and Vietnam are attributed to the rapid rise of China. The United States has long been exporting weapons to countries in the Middle East. Loans granted under the "Foreign Military Financing" has allowed foreign countries to purchase weapons, labeled as defensive measures, on credit. Secretary of State John Kerry stated the importance of Vietnam of receiving U.S. weapons for their self-defense. Relations between the U.S. and China are increasingly strained as the U.S. has already been supplying "defense weapons" to Taiwan for many years.