Lin­ger­ing memories: Viet­nam, Hiroshima

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama is on his first visit to Viet­nam and Hiroshima, Ja­pan, a trip seen as evok­ing lots of emo­tion from some and sus­pi­cion from oth­ers, in­clud­ing China, re­ports from Wash­ing­ton.

China Daily (Canada) - - DEPTH -

Bun cha Huong Lien, an in­ex­pen­sive street food shop in Hanoi, Viet­nam, was made fa­mous overnight on Mon­day with vis­its by two un­ex­pected guests.

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and CNN celebrity chef An­thony Bour­dain were seen squeez­ing around a small table, en­joy­ing cold lo­cal beer and grilled pork pat­ties served in a bowl of fish sauce, along with ver­mi­celli noo­dles, herbs and let­tuce on the side.

By the time Obama was leav­ing the eatery, he had been sur­rounded by crowds of Viet­namese greet­ing the pres­i­dent of a na­tion that was once Viet­nam’s bit­ter en­emy.

On the same day, Obama, with Viet­namese Pres­i­dent Tran Dai Quang stand­ing at his side, un­ex­pect­edly an­nounced the lift­ing of a long­stand­ing arms em­bargo on Viet­nam.

The news has been widely in­ter­preted by West­ern media as a move to lure Viet­nam from China into the US sphere or a move to counter the in­flu­ence of a ris­ing China, es­pe­cially re­gard­ing mar­itime dis­putes in the South China Sea.

Obama said the de­ci­sion to lift the arms 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 to­ward nor­mal­iza­tion with Viet­nam,” he said in Hanoi on Mon­day.

His words were met with sus­pi­cion from many Chi­nese ex­perts study­ing China-US re­la­tions, who see any visit by Obama to the re­gion as move to un­der­mine China’s in­ter­ests.

But re­ac­tion from China’s for­eign min­istry was calm.

“As a neigh­bor to Viet­nam, China is happy to see Viet­nam de­velop nor­mal re­la­tions with all coun­tries in­clud­ing the US. And we hope this would be con­ducive to re­gional peace, sta­bil­ity and devel­op­ment,” spokes­woman Hua Chun­y­ing said in Bei­jing on Tues­day.

While the US and North Viet­nam were en­e­mies 40 years ago, China, then a much poorer na­tion un­der Chair­man Mao, pro­vided the most per­son­nel and equip­ment sup­port to the then North Viet­nam, led by the same rul­ing party in Viet­nam today, in a pro­longed war against South Viet­nam backed by US troops.

As a neigh­bor to Viet­nam, China is happy to see Viet­nam de­velop nor­mal re­la­tions with all coun­tries in­clud­ing the US.’’

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama shakes hands with a lo­cal res­i­dent as he leaves a res­tau­rant in Hanoi af­ter hav­ing din­ner with celebrity chef An­thony Bour­dain on Mon­day. Novem­ber 2009: Ja­pan, Sin­ga­pore (APEC Sum­mit), China, South Korea

Novem­ber 2010: In­dia, In­done­sia, South Korea, Ja­pan (APEC Sum­mit)

Novem­ber 2011: In­done­sia (Bali for ASEAN Sum­mit and 6th East Asia Sum­mit)

March 2012: South Korea (Nu­clear Se­cu­rity Sum­mit)

Novem­ber 2012: Thai­land, Myan­mar, Cam­bo­dia (East Asia Sum­mit)

April 2014: Ja­pan, South Korea, Malaysia, The Philip­pines

Novem­ber 2014: China (APEC Sum­mit), Myan­mar (East Asia Sum­mit)

Jan­uary 2015: In­dia

Novem­ber 2015: The Philip­pines, Malaysia (East Asia Sum­mit)

May 2016: Viet­nam, Ja­pan

Septem­ber 2016: China, Laos (East Asia Sum­mit)

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