In a historic move, The US has lifted 41-year-old arms embargo against Vietnam . The US President Barack Obama, during his first visit to Vietnam, officially announced that “the United States is fully lifting the ban on the sale of military equipment.”
In a joint news conference with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang, the US President Obama said that arms sale should meet some requirements regarding human rights issues.
Obama also said that the lifting of embargo will put an end to the “lingering vestige of the Cold War”.
Welcoming the new shift in US policy, Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang said that his nation will respect human rights and expressed his hope of working together with US to minimize the differences in the deal.
“At this stage both sides have developed a level of trust and cooperation. We come here as a symbol of strengthening ties that we have made over the last several decades,” Obama, the third US President to visit Vietnam, said after the much-awaited declaration.
“My hope is that in the course of my visit here I continue to express to the people of Vietnam the warmth and friendship between the two countries and our continued interest in strengthening these ties in the years to come,” Obama added.
Meantime, it is expected that the new move to lift the decades-old arms export embargo is an apparent attempt from US side to tie up with Vietnam which has been under constant threat from China. The decision has come as a great solace to Vietnam to face an aggressive China.
The historic US arms embargo on Vietnam has been in force since 1984. Later, it was slightly relaxed in 2014.
Now Obama lifted it completely by expanding the range of armaments that can be sold to the country, amid rapprochement with Hanoi and concern over China’s military strength.
The US has not sold weapons to Vietnam since the end of the long war in that country (1955-1975), although the formal ban was issued in 1984 by late US president Ronald Reagan.
The two countries restored diplomatic relations in 1995, and Obama has tried to apply the same philosophy that he has adopted with Cuba and Myanmar to Vietnam: to boost bilateral dialogue despite the concern about the human rights situation.