US lifts embargo on sales of lethal weapons to Vietnam

May 24, 2016 12:22 IST

OBAMAVIETNAMUS President Barack Obama on 23 May 2016 announced an end to its embargo on sales of lethal weapons to Vietnam, its one-time enemy. He said the move removes a lingering vestige of the Cold War.

The embargos were removed during President Obama’s official three-day visit to Vietnam. He is the third US President to visit Vietnam since the end of the decade-long Vietnam War in 1975. Other two Presidents were Bill Clinton and George W. Bush (went in 2000 and 2006).

Earlier in 1995, the diplomatic relations between the two nations were restored by Clinton, but the US embargo on the sale of weapons remained in force.

Since them, Vietnam had been arguing for an end to the arms embargo. The embargo partially lifted in 2014 by Obama allowed Vietnam to purchase naval-defense equipment.

US Arms embargo on the Southeast Asian nation has been in place since 1984.

Obama's visit and uplifting the decade’s long sanctions comes at the time when US is trying to build its relationship with its Pacific allies. It can be termed that it is a calibrated move of United States to seize the deteriorating ties between Vietnam and its neighbour China over South China Sea claims.

China claims almost all of the energy-rich South China Sea, through which more than 5 trillion dollars of maritime trade passes each year. The Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan have overlapping claims.

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