Vietnam supports US interventions in Asia Pacific to promote ‘peace and prosperity’ – military

US Soldiers. © AFP
Vietnam, which defeated a massive US invasion in the 1970s, says it supports Washington’s intervention in the Asia Pacific “if it brings peace, stability and prosperity” to the region, the country’s top military official told US counterparts in Hanoi.

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Senior Lieutenant-General Nguyen Chi Vinh, Vietnam’s deputy defense minister, met on Monday with Cara Abercrombie, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia to boost military-to-military cooperation between Hanoi and Washington.

Vinh said that “Vietnam supports international intervention of the US and other partners in the region if it brings about peace, stability and prosperity,” according to the Defense Ministry’s statement.

The remark, controversial for a country that suffered a decade-long US invasion in the 1960s and ’70s, was made on the margins of the 7th Vietnam-US defense policy dialogue in Hanoi, the statement said.

US and Vietnam officials also discussed delegation exchanges as well as cooperation in maritime security, humanitarian aid, UN peacekeeping operations and education. They also talked about the Cooperative Humanitarian and Medical Storage Initiative (CHAMSI) that is designed to foster cooperation between the US and Vietnam in the field of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Special attention was paid to the issue of mitigating the consequences of the Vietnam War, which involves efforts from both sides aimed at detoxification of areas in Vietnam contaminated by the US chemical agents such as Agent Orange/dioxin, dealing with unexploded ordnance as well as finding and returning remains of US servicemen who died during the war.

Later the same day, Abercrombie met with Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich. During the meeting, Lich also said that Vietnam is willing to cooperate with the US in the fields of regional and global security.

Relations between the two countries have improved substantially over the past two decades. In 1995, then-US President Bill Clinton announced formal normalization of previously severed ties between Hanoi and Washington, with the two nations restoring diplomatic relations. 

Recently, these relations have become even better in the view of the situation in the South China Sea, where Hanoi has territorial dispute with Beijing. In May, Washington lifted an embargo on lethal arms being supplied to Vietnam.

US President Barack Obama said at that time that the move was aimed at eliminating a “lingering vestige of the Cold War,” as reported by AP. In October, two US warships also visited Vietnam’s newly-built international port of Cam Ranh.

Meanwhile, use of the port by the Russian Navy is also reportedly being discussed by Russia and Vietnam, according to Deputy Defense Minister Nikolay Pankov.

Rapprochement between the US and Vietnam also comes in line with overwhelming majority of the Vietnamese having a positive view of the US. According to a 2015 poll by Pew Research, 78 percent of Vietnamese said they had a “very favorable or somewhat favorable” opinion on the US.