Aussies upset over Vietnam decision to cancel ceremony
VIETNAM cancelled a long-arranged commemoration ceremony for Australian war veterans yesterday in a move Canberra described as “a kick in the guts” that it is seeking to overturn.
More than 1000 veterans and their families had travelled to Vietnam to mark the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan today.
“We have been working with the Vietnamese government for over 18 months for this, towards making sure that this commemoration took place in a low-key, dignified and respectful way,” Veterans Affairs Minister Dan Tehan said.
“For us to be given such short notice of the cancellation is, to put it in very frank terms, a kick in the guts,” he said from Canberra.
The Battle of Long Tan took place on August 18, 1966, and was the costliest single battle fought by Australian soldiers in the Vietnam War. Seventeen Australians were killed in action.
Mr Tehan said he was bitterly disappointed at the decision which he said “should not have occurred”.
“My hope is that the Vietnamese government will overturn it,” he said, adding that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hoped to speak to his Vietnamese counterpart about it. –