President Barack Obama has announced the US is fully lifting its embargo on sales of lethal weapons to Vietnam, its one-time enemy. Speaking during a visit to communist Vietnam and talks with its leaders, Mr Obama said the move removed a “lingering vestige of the Cold War”.
The US is trying to bolster its relationship with its Pacific allies, as China asserts territorial claims. But Mr Obama said the embargo decision was not related to US policy on China. “It’s based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving towards normalisation with Vietnam,” he said in Hanoi.
Jonathan Head reports from Hanoi: “Whatever the differences on human rights, both these countries have put their history behind them.
“Sales will need to still meet strict requirements, including those related to human rights, but this change will ensure that Vietnam has access to the equipment it needs to defend itself,” Mr Obama said after talks with President Tran Dai Quang.