Barack Obama Lifts US Arms Embargo On Vietnam

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President Barack Obama has announced that the US is lifting its embargo on sales of lethal weapons to one-time enemy, Vietnam.

He made the announcement on Monday, during his first visit to Hanoi, which his welcoming hosts described as the arrival of a warm spring and a new chapter in relations between two countries that were at war four decades ago.

Speaking during talks with the Vietnam leaders in the country, Mr Obama stated that the move removed a “lingering vestige of the cold war”.

It is an historic step that draws a line under the two countries’ old enmity and underscores their shared concerns about Beijing’s growing military clout.

The US is trying to bolster its relationship with its pacific allies, as China asserts territorial claims.

But Mr Obama said that the embargo decision was not related to US policy on China.

“The decision to lift the ban was not based on China or any other considerations. It was based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving towards normalization with Vietnam,” he said.

He later added that his visit to a former foe showed “hearts can change and peace is possible”.

Vietnam is one of several countries in the region involved in maritime disputes with China.

The US insists on the right to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

The Vietnam War ended in April 1975 with the fall of Saigon — now called Ho Chi Minh City.

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