July 8, 2015


War Veterans Lead the Way in Reconciling Former Enemies (THOMAS FULLER, JULY 5, 2015, NY Times)

Over the past several years, Vietnam and the United States have come together so quickly that even the architects of the reconciliation call it breathtaking. That will be highlighted on Tuesday when Nguyen Phu Trong, the head of Vietnam's Communist Party, the symbol of what America was fighting, visits the White House for the first time.

"It's really the exclamation point on the establishment of diplomatic relations," Antony J. Blinken, the deputy United States secretary of state, said in an interview. "One Vietnamese senior official said to me, 'With this visit there is no going back on the relationship.' " [...]

"Among all the choices, Vietnam chooses Pax Americana," said Le Van Cuong, a retired general who five decades ago was fighting America.

Like many other Vietnamese officials, he is outspoken in his mistrust of China, which he calls a common enemy of the United States and Vietnam. There has been a longstanding antipathy in Vietnam toward China, with which it fought a border war in 1979 and has clashed over territorial claims in the South China Sea.

"The main goal of the Chinese is to kick out the United States from the geopolitical stage and to become the No. 1 power," he said.

Vietnam and the United States are two of a dozen countries negotiating a wide-ranging free trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The agreement does not include China. The Vietnamese see the agreement as a way, among other things, of having more direct trade with the United States that is not routed through China.

Posted by at July 8, 2015 1:44 PM

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