HANOI: US President Barack Obama in his first and most probably the last visit to Vietnam as President, announced Monday that the United States is fully lifting a decades-long ban on the sale of military equipment to Vietnam.
“Just a generation ago, we were adversaries and now we are friends,” Obama said during a news conference in Hanoi with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang 41 years after the end of the Vietnam War.
Obama said in the presser that the removal of the ban on lethal weapons was part of deeper defense cooperation with Vietnam and maintained that it was not an attempt to counter China’s growing strength in the region.
Instead, it was the desire to continue normalizing relations between the United States and Vietnam and to do away with a ban “based on ideological division between our two countries,” CNN quoted Obama.
The Vietnam War ended in April 1975 with the fall of Saigon — now called Ho Chi Minh City — after the United States withdrew combat forces and the North Vietnamese launched a massive offensive to reunite their homeland under communism.