© AFP | US President Barack Obama poked fun at himself, the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates and reporters during the 102nd White House Correspondents' Association Dinner
© AFP | US President Barack Obama poked fun at himself, the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates and reporters during the 102nd White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

Efforts for the improvement of U.S.-Vietnam ties should be driven by common pursuit to benefit the Asia-Pacific region while generating interests to both sides, rather than a one-sided, selfish agenda that would add risks to regional peace and stability.

To improve relations between the two former bitter foes, U.S. President Barack Obama kicks off a Vietnam visit on Sunday, the first of its kind in his term and the third consecutive one by a U.S. leader since the two countries normalized ties in 1995, two decades after the end of their bloodstained 19-year war.

As the first stop of his week-long Asia tour, which will also take him to Japan, the three-day trip to Vietnam is part of Obama’s latest legacy-building endeavor before his presidency expires in early 2017.

Amid frequent U.S.-Vietnam engagement in the past two years, the two countries are expected to focus on stronger trade, political and military cooperation during Obama’s stay.

It is welcome that Vietnam, with a robust 6-plus-percent GDP growth between 2000 and 2015, seeks to further strengthen economic ties with the United States, its largest trading partner and the biggest importer of Vietnamese products.

Meanwhile, Hanoi’s tighter political relationship with Washington, despite ideological differences, will help facilitate their interaction in years to come.

Results from discussions over those issues, however, are not as essential to Washington as they are to Hanoi. In fact, consolidating its policy of “pivot to Asia” by taking advantage of enhanced ties with Vietnam is more of a critical concern for the United States.

As a habitual wave-maker in the Asia-Pacific, the United States has shown no restraint in meddling in regional situation, which is evidenced by its relentless moves to disturb peace in the South China Sea, with the latest case being a recent reconnaissance flight carried out by a U.S. military aircraft close to China’s island of Hainan.

By seeking footholds in the South China Sea dispute that Washington is not a relevant party to, all its intention to cash in on regional stability has been laid bare.

Given Vietnam’s industrial and military foundations, the United States has come to the belief that the Southeastern Asian nation could be suitable to help project Washington’s will over the South China Sea issue.

In addition, the White House is weighing an end to a three-decades-old arms embargo on Hanoi, one of the last major vestiges of the Vietnam War era.

Talks on its removal will be high on the agenda of Obama’s trip. But fundamentally speaking, the calculating move will serve only Washington’s own strategic purposes as the United States seeks a rebalance in the Asia-Pacific.

Therefore, it is advisable for Vietnam to stay cautious when dealing with the United States which is motivated by an insincere agenda, while Washington should exert restraint in actions counter-effective to regional stability and play a constructive role in promoting peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. Enditem

by Xinhua Writer Sun Ding

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