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U.S. and Vietnam, once enemies, now military mates
Question of the Day
U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said China had not been consulted about the talks, but he would not discuss the specifics of the enrichment provision. Congressional aides have said the agreement likely will not contain a no-enrichment pledge, which the United States promotes as the “gold standard” for civilian nuclear cooperation accords to ensure materials are not being used to build a nuclear weapon.
Vietnam has denied having any plans to enrich uranium on its own soil.
The aircraft carrier’s visit is particularly symbolic as it cruises off Danang, once the site of a bustling U.S. military base during the Vietnam War, which ended April 30, 1975, when northern communist forces seized control of Saigon, the U.S.-backed capital of South Vietnam, reuniting the country.
Some 58,000 Americans and an estimated 3 million Vietnamese were killed during the war.
Relations have thrived since the former foes shook hands in 1995. The United States is Vietnam’s top export market, and Americans are the country’s No. 1 foreign investor. Two-way trade reached $15.4 billion in 2009.
Military ties have also grown since the first U.S. warship ship visited Ho Chi Minh City in 2003, including high-level defense talks and training.
The destroyer USS John McCain will pay a port call to Vietnam later this week. The two navies are expected to have cultural exchanges along with training exercises, such as search-and-rescue operations.
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