President Barack Obama visits Vietnam and Japan as part of his “farewell travel.” The main purpose of the visit is to strengthen United States of America’s economic security and strategic ties.
Vietnam and Japan used to be the most powerful country’s wartime adversaries. Today, Obama wants to strengthen the relationship before he leaves the White House almost 6 months from now. He also wants his “policy of rebalancing” to lead a positive legacy.
During his visit to Vietnam, he has lifted the ban on the sale of military equipment which has been existing for over four decades.
“Over time what we’ve seen is a progressive deepening and broadening of the [bilateral] relationship,” Obama said. “And what became apparent to me and my administration at this point was … that it was appropriate for us not to have a blanket, across-the-board ban.”
The ban was partially lifted two years ago to allow Vietnam to purchase naval-defense equipment.
Another thing that Obama has reiterated was the “freedom of expression.” Based on the reports, Vietnam imposes actions to media, rebels and protesters. In spite of what the country enforces, the US President made it clear that he respects their sovereignty and he doesn’t want to force the government to implement the democratic system.
“At the same time, we will continue to speak out on behalf of human rights that we believe are universal, including freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly, and that includes the right of civil society to organize and help improve their communities in their country,” he said.
Lastly, Obama’s message about China’s claim on different parts of the South China Sea has gained the applause and cheer from the attendees.
“Big nations should not bully smaller ones, disputes should be resolved peacefully,” he said.
Obama is currently in Japan. However, he clarified that the visit is not intended to apologize for the mishaps that have transpired during the World War II where the US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima which killed over 100,000 people.