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Obama Scraps Vietnam Arms Embargo After Almost 50 Years

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter

President Barack Obama has jettisoned the arms embargo the U.S. imposed on Vietnam since the Vietnam War just as tensions rise on the South China Sea.

Obama said that the ban was, “based on ideological division between our two countries.” Obama is the third U.S. president, the others being Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, to have visited the Communist country since the end of the Vietnam War.

While Obama claimed that lifting the embargo had nothing to do with China, he did state that the U.S. and Vietnam have shared goals regarding maritime policy according to NPR. Despite positive public statements about the embargo being lifted, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs is concerned about the continued warming relations between the U.S. and Vietnam according to experts.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying’s take on the end of the embargo was that, “as a neighboring country, we would be happy to see Vietnam develop normal and friendly cooperative relationships with all other countries, including the United States. And we hope those normal and friendly relationships are conducive to regional stability and development,” she told reporters at a regularly scheduled news conference.”

Just last week, the Chinese denied that Chinese fighter jets got too close to a U.S. Navy reconnaissance plane. Instead, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that U.S. claims of the jets being threatening to the reconnaissance plane were simply “not true.”

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