United States President Barack Obama announced on Monday that the decades-long ban on arms sales to Vietnam has been lifted. Obama held a joint conference with Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang on Monday to make the announcement from Hanoi.
Obama asserted that the lifting of the ban is not correlated with the strengthening of China in the region. He also stated that “the removal of the ban is part of a deeper defense cooperation with the country.”
“The arms sales ban was a product of the cold war,” stated Hua Chunying, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She further stated, “We are happy to see the United States and Vietnam develop normal cooperative relations.”
The United States will continue to evaluate all of its arms sales with Vietnam as it does with all sales, according to Obama. Sales are evaluated and need to be authorized following a deep investigation into the weapon’s usage.
“The symbolism is more important,” states Nguyen Ngoc Truong, the president of Vietnam’s Center for Strategic Studies and International Development. “It does not mean Vietnam will be a very big buyer of American weapons,” he stated.
Obama defended the country’s decision to lift its arms embargo despite Vietnam having a poor record on human rights.