U.S.-Vietnam relations have been flourishing recently, due to a number of reasons — not the least of which have been their willingness to help the United States find and return the fallen brothers and sisters in arms from the Vietnam War. There are currently 1,601 Americans missing from the war in southeast Asia — many in Vietnam, and many in neighboring countries.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis made sure to compliment the Vietnam government in their support of the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency as they work out of Hanoi. He encouraged Vietnamese efforts in teaming up with American forces to continue to rebuild since the war. Pentagon chief spokesperson Dana W. White said that Mattis’ visit was the sixth such visit to Vietnam by a U.S. Defense Secretary.
President Trump addressed Vietnam’s willingness to help find the POW/MIA from the Vietnam War, when he traveled there last December. He said,
Our accountability efforts in Vietnam are very, very important to all of us. We will not rest until all of the missing veterans are returned home. I want to thank the government of Vietnam for (its) assistance in our efforts.”
However, that is not all that Mattis has done in talks with the Vietnamese government. They have continued to support the U.S. and the U.N. in their sanctions against North Korea, despite the significant loss in trade it has cost them. To that effect, Mattis said, “They have been supporting the United Nations sanctions at some cost to them … so we appreciate the leadership on that leading by example and stepping up.”
They also talked “regional security issues,” according to a press release by the DOD and White, particularly involving maritime security around southeast Asia as well as peacekeeping and relief efforts when necessary.
Vietnam has been planning on sending a medical unit to South Sudan later this year. Sources tell SOFREP that an entire generation of refugees in South Sudan has been reliant on relief efforts and food, due to the extremely volatile and complex nature of the situation there. Mattis promised to bolster Vietnam’s aid efforts to the country.
Mattis’ trip took him to Indonesia (where he witnessed a quite the spectacle), as well as to see South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo and the commander of U.S. Pacific Command, both in Hawaii.
Featured image: Defense Secretary James N. Mattis arrives in Hanoi, Vietnam, Jan. 24, 2018. DoD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith.