US to partially lift Vietnam arms embargo

THE US is to partially lift its decades-old embargo on providing lethal military support to Vietnam, to help improve its maritime security.

The state department said it applied to weapons for maritime purposes only.

It followed talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Vietnamese counterpart in Washington on Thursday.

Correspondents say it is aimed at countering China’s actions around disputed islands in the South China Sea, but US officials have denied this.

The arms embargo was imposed on Vietnam in 1984. However, diplomatic ties between the US and Vietnam have been restored since 1995, 20 years after the Vietnam War ended.

State department officials said Mr Kerry informed Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Min of the decision when they met for talks in Washington on Thursday.

He said that Washington was adjusting its current policy “in order to allow the transfer of defence equipment, including lethal defence equipment, for maritime security purposes only”.

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