HANOI, Vietnam (AP) – Vietnam on Friday welcomed a decision by the US government to ease a ban on lethal arms sales, saying it will benefit both nations.
The United States announced Thursday it was partially lifting the ban, a move intended to help Vietnam defend itself in the South China Sea, where it is among Asian nations facing an increasingly assertive China.
Vietnamese Foreign Ministry’s deputy spokeswoman Tran Thi Bich Van said in a statement that her government welcomes any step that aims to promote Vietnam-US partnership.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters the US will now allow sales of lethal maritime security capabilities and for surveillance on a case-by-case basis.
US officials said it could include both boats and air assets, particularly for Vietnam’s coast guard.
The US has not transferred lethal arms to Vietnam since Communists took power at the end of the Vietnam War. A 1984 embargo prohibited arms sales because of concern over the government’s human rights record.