VOANews reported that the United States’ top military officer is in Vietnam for historic talks with Communist Party officials as part of the latest effort to expand defence ties between the two countries.
Both sides discussed ways to boost defence cooperation, with a focus on maritime security, search and rescue, and overcoming the legacy of war.
|General Do Ba Ty shaking hands with General Dempsey in Hanoi on August 14 (Photo: AFP)
Before entering a closed-door meeting, Dempsey told reporters the visit is “one of the highlights” of his career. It is the first time since 1971 a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has visited Vietnam.
In a meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Gen. Dempsey said his visit demonstrates the US commitment to peace and stability in the region, and the US desire to be a good partner of Vietnam.
He shared the view that peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the Asia-Pacific region, especially the East Sea, is seriously threatened by unjustifiable claims and unilateral actions to assert territorial sovereignty.
Despite flourishing trade, military ties have been hampered by a US ban on lethal arms sales to Vietnam. There has been speculation the US could soon lift the ban, which was put in place during the war that ended in 1975.
Both AFP and AP reported that trade has burgeoned between the US and Vietnam since the two countries normalized ties in 1995.
USA Today also reported that Dempsey was chauffeured past famous Hoa Lo prison known as Hanoi Hilton where US prisoners of war, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., were detained.