Even the Viet­namese have re­spect for McCain

The Nation - - OPINION & ANALYSIS - Chavalit Wan­naw­i­jitr Chi­ang Mai

News that Viet­namese Prime Min­is­ter Nguyen Xuan Phuc sent a mes­sage of con­do­lence to US Se­nate lead­ers and the fam­ily of John McCain on the death of the se­na­tor says so much about the high re­gard the Viet­namese have for McCain. McCain was not only a war hero: He was a cham­pion of peace as re­gards post­war US-Viet­namese re­la­tions. McCain (as a Repub­li­can se­na­tor), and John Kerry (as a Demo­crat se­na­tor) played im­por­tant roles in the nor­mal­i­sa­tion of re­la­tions be­tween the two for­mer en­e­mies in 1995. And as a side note, while the US and the rest of the world call the 20-year war in that coun­try “the Viet­nam War”, the Viet­namese have a dif­fer­ent name for it. To this day they re­fer to it as “the Amer­ica War”.

The flight­suit of US Navy pi­lot John McCain on dis­play at the prison dubbed the Hanoi Hil­ton, now a mu­seum in the Viet­namese cap­i­tal, where McCain was held a pris­oner of war for five years af­ter his jet was shot down in 1967. As a pris­oner, McCain was known as un­com­pro­mis­ing, frank and an avid reader who fiercely de­bated the war with his Viet­namese jailors, earn­ing their ad­mi­ra­tion.

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