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CNN: Obama lifts U.S. arms ban on Vietnam


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Obama lifts U.S. arms ban on Vietnam


President Barack Obama announced Monday that the United States is fully lifting a decades-long ban on the sale of military equipment to Vietnam.


In a joint news conference in Hanoi with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang, Obama said that the removal of the ban on lethal weapons was part of a deeper defense cooperation with the country and dismissed suggestions it was aimed at countering 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," he said.


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.


While Vietnam and China are neighbors that share a communist ideology, China has aggressively claimed territory in the South China Sea, irking Vietnam and other Southeast Asian neighbors and also raising concerns internationally.


In a recent and provocative show of force, China flew two jets close to U.S. aircraft stationed in airspace above the disputed region.


At a press briefing Monday by China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that it was appropriate for the ban to be lifted.


"(The) arms sales ban was a product of the Cold War and should no longer exist," she told reporters. "We hope the lifting of all such bans will benefit regional peace and development. And we are happy to see the United States and Vietnam develop normal cooperative relations."

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Apparently this happened too.

Should be interesting:


Barack Obama, Anthony Bourdain dine in Vietnam


President Barack Obama took a detour on his Asia trip Monday when he dined with celebrity chef and adventurous eater Anthony Bourdain in Vietnam.


Their meal and conversation will be featured in a September episode of CNN's "Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown."


After finishing up at Hanoi restaurant Bún chả Hương Liên, Bourdain tweeted that he had picked up the $6 tab on a shared "bun Cha dinner."


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Obama reaches out to people a day after Vietnam arms deal


After knocking down one of the last vestiges of Cold War antagonism with a former war enemy, President Barack Obama on Tuesday takes his push for closer ties directly to the Vietnamese people. Amid the geopolitical statecraft, he faces calls to more strongly address what's seen as an abysmal human rights record.


Obama planned meetings with civil society members and entrepreneurs and a speech aimed at the people of Vietnam, a day after announcing the lifting of a five-decade-old arms sales embargo that's meant to help forge a new economic and security relationship with this young, fast-growing Southeast Asian nation.


Obama must balance a desire for a stronger relationship with efforts to hold its communist leadership to account over what activists say is the widespread abuse of dissidents.


From Hanoi, Obama was to fly Tuesday to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon. He planned a visit to the Jade Pagoda, considered one of the most beautiful pagodas in southern Vietnam and a repository of religious documents that includes more than 300 statues and other relics.


Shifting from the historical to the modern, Obama also planned to visit the Dreamplex business complex in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, a space for startup entrepreneurs that fits with Obama's message about the potential benefits of closer ties to Vietnam's growing economy and its burgeoning middle class.


Obama also planned to meet with entrepreneurs, letting him talk up the benefits of what he says will be enhanced trade under a 12-nation trans-Pacific trade deal that is stalled in Congress and opposed by the leading U.S. presidential candidates.

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I understand why they've done it, and I don't think this particular case is going to come back and bite us, but in general, I don't like the enemy of enemy is my friend foreign policy.


I wish they would have at least pushed for some reforms to move Vietnam away from being a 1 party state as part of the deal.

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