United States President Barack Obama announced the complete removal of arms export embargo for Vietnam on Monday. Obama wishes to come to terms with the former war enemy and get rid of a “lingering vestige of the Cold War.” He added: “At this stage both sides have developed a level of trust and cooperation.”
Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang expressed gratitude to Obama for lifting the arms embargo. This situation will be a breakthrough for Vietnam’s leaders in the effort to be prepared for China’s actions. The partnership between U.S. and Vietnam militaries allows pressure to be put on China’s claimed-islands in the South China Sea.
Obama is the third sitting president to visit Vietnam since the war. Former United States President Bill Clinton reestablished a relationship with Vietnam in 1995. Obama sees an opportunity to improve the relation further as the growing middle class in Vietnam shows potential as a promising market for the US. A boost in trade also allows for more United States products to be in Vietnam.
The president will stay for three days in Vietnam during his Asia trip before departing to Japan. Obama is attending an international summit and will be the first sitting president to visit Hiroshima, the place of the first atomic bomb attack. The visit to Hiroshima will be a time of reflection for the two nations and a momentous time for Obama to push for a nuclear-free world.