US Lifts Vietnam Arms Embargo

President Obama on Monday ended a 50-year embargo on the sale of military equipment to Vietnam, enabling broader military cooperation with the nation in a time of heightened tensions in the South Pacific and ending a “lingering vestige” of the Vietnam War. The agreement came at a time of “historic high” relations between the countries, the White House said in a statement on Obama’s visit to Hanoi. The agreement will give Vietnam access to equipment it needs to defend itself, though sales will still need to meet “strict requirements,” including those on human rights, Obama said. While the decision comes during tensions between the US and China on access in the South China Sea, Obama said it is not based on China, and instead is meant to reach “normalization with Vietnam.” The move has already seen congressional support. The Senate Armed Services Committee’s version of the Fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act encouraged lifting the ban.