US LIFTS VIETNAM ARMS EMBARGO IN MOVE TO COUNTER CHINA
SOURCE: FOX NEWS
President Obama lifted the 41-year-old U.S. arms embargo against Vietnam Monday in an apparent effort to shore up the communist country’s defenses against an increasingly aggressive China.
Obama announced the full removal of the embargo at a news conference in Hanoi alongside Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang. The American president said the move was intended as a step toward normalizing relations with the former enemy and to eliminate a “lingering vestige of the Cold War.”
Obama added that every U.S. arms sale would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
U.S. lawmakers and activists had urged Obama to press for greater human rights freedoms in the one-party state before lifting the embargo. Vietnam holds about 100 political prisoners and there have been more detentions this year.
Washington partially lifted the embargo on arms in 2014, but Vietnam wanted full access as it tries to deal with China’s land reclamation and military construction in the disputed South China Sea. Vietnam has not bought anything, but removing the remaining restrictions shows relations are fully normalized and opens the way to deeper security cooperation.