Partial Lifting of Vietnam Embargo Underway

The Defense Department is working with the State Department to determine how best to implement a “partial lifting” of the longstanding lethal arms embargo on Vietnam, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Christine Wormuth told the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. In response to questioning by Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) on the balance between renewing arms sales and Vietnam’s lackluster human rights record, Wormuth said the Pentagon remains “committed to pushing for more progress on the human rights front” as it works toward “deepening the relationship” with the Southeast Asian nation. Pressed on what types of armaments and equipment the Pentagon could sell, Wormuth said they would likely be items to improve Vietnam’s ability to conduct maritime domain awareness operations; build better intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance tools; and participate in humanitarian-assistance operations. The United States has steadily sought to expand military-to-military ties with Vietnam, and US Pacific Command boss Adm. Samuel Locklear first indicated last September the arms embargo might soon end. (Wormuth’s prepared statement)?