China hopes US, Viet­nam ties to ben­e­fit re­gional peace

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

BEIJING —China is happy to see Viet­nam nor­mal­iz­ing re­la­tions with the United States and hopes it ben­e­fits re­gional peace, China said on Fri­day as the United States con­sid­ers lift­ing a three-decade-old arms embargo on Viet­nam.

A de­bate within the U.S. ad­min­is­tra­tion on lift­ing the arms embargo is com­ing to a head amid prepa­ra­tions for Pres­i­dent Barack Obama to visit Viet­nam this month. The for­mer en­e­mies are in­creas­ingly part­ners against China’s grow­ing ter­ri­to­rial as­sertive­ness in the South China Sea.

Viet­nam says it would wel­come the United States “ac­cel­er­at­ing” the lift­ing of a lethal arms embargo, which would re­flect trust be­tween the two coun­tries and recog­ni­tion of its needs to de­fend it­self. The ban was eased in late 2014.

“From the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment’s point of view, we are happy to see Viet­nam de­velop nor­mal re­la­tions with the rel­e­vant coun­try,” Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry spokesman Lu Kang told a daily news brief­ing, when asked about the pos­si­ble lift­ing.

“We also hope this re­la­tion­ship can ben­e­fit re­gional peace, sta­bil­ity and pros­per­ity,” he added, with­out elab­o­rat­ing.

The arms embargo is one of the last ma­jor ves­tiges of the Viet­nam War era. The United States has not in­di­cated pub­licly it would re­move the embargo and has long said such a move would de­pend on Viet­nam show­ing progress on hu­man rights.

Lift­ing the embargo would mark a ma­jor step for­ward in ties 21 years af­ter nor­mal­iza­tion be­gan.—Reuters

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