President Barack Obama says the U.S. will fully lift an embargo on the sale of lethal weapons to Vietnam, its former enemy. Yiming Woo reports.
Vietnam's President Tran Dai Quang described Barack Obama's first visit to the country as the arrival of a warm spring after a cold winter. Ties between the United States and its former enemy are clearly on the mend -- Obama's announced he'll fully lift the embargo on sales of lethal weapons to the country. Observers say it's part of his foreign policy aimed at countering China's growing military might. But the president says that's not the case. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED STATES PRESIDENT, BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "The decision to lift the ban was not based on China or any other considerations, it's based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving towards normalisation with Vietnam." Vietnam and China have opposing claims in the South China Sea. Territorial disputes have sparked clashes between their militaries. Obama's move will likely upset China. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESWOMAN HUA CHUNYING SAYING: "As Vietnam's neighbour, we're willing to see Vietnam develop normal and friendly relationships with all countries, including the United States. We hope the development of such a friendly cooperative relationship can be conducive to regional peace, stability and development." The U.S. President says the sale of arms would depend on Vietnam's commitments to human rights, and will be made on a case-by-case basis.