HANOI (Web Desk) – President Barack Obama has announced the lifting of the US embargo on sales of lethal weapons to Vietnam.

During a visit to communist Vietnam and talks with its leaders, Mr Obama said the move removed a “lingering vestige of the Cold War”.

The US is trying to bolster its relationship with Pacific nations, as China becomes more assertive about its territorial claims in the region. However, Obama denied that the embargo decision was not related to US policy on China.

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“It’s based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving towards normalisation with Vietnam,” he said in Hanoi.

Vietnam is one of several countries in the region involved in maritime disputes with China. The US insists on the right to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

In 2014, a row over a Chinese oil rig near the Paracel islands led to clashes between Chinese and Vietnamese vessels and anti-China riots in Vietnam.

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