The announcement to lift the decade’s long ban on sales of weapons to Vietnam was made by President Barack in a question and answer session with the president of Vietnam after the first ever meeting between the two heads of state after the Vietnam War.
By ending the ban, the U.S. has signaled its desire to leave behind decades of tense post-war relations with Vietnam and start a new phase of closer economic and military ties. The recent Obama-US move is a facet of the pivot to Asia that is central to the Obama’s foreign policy Obama in Vietnam
The move by President Obama is interpreted by experts to mean, the U.S. showing the region and particularly China, that it is committed to maintaining international rules in Asia and to backing up smaller countries in area where tensions have been rising as an increasingly assertive Beijing tries to establish maritime claims in the South China Sea.
In response to whether the move was to counter China’s move, Obama in said “The decision to lift the ban was not based on China or any other considerations, it was based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving towards normalization with Vietnam.”
According to Obama U.S. cooperation with Vietnam is aimed at improving their maritime security posture “for a whole host of reasons,” including strong defense ties. He added that the decision to lift the ban was more reflective of the changing nature of the relationship with Vietnam.