Vietnam supports U.S. "intervention" in the Asia-Pacific if it helps keep peace and stability, the defense ministry has said, in a timely endorsement of a continued U.S. presence amid uncertainty over Washington's faltering "pivot."

The vice defense minister, Senior Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh, met on Monday with Cara Abercrombie, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for South and Southeast Asia, and told her Vietnam backs a positive U.S. role.

The general's words of support, conveyed by a normally reclusive defense ministry, come when the United States most needs them, with its "rebalance" — aimed at boosting its Asian foothold and tempering China's rise — now under strain in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election.