News / Asia

Extra Sites Opened in Vietnam to Search for Missing US Troops

FILE - Pilots salute as U.S. soldiers carry a casket containing human remains, believed to belong to a U.S. servicemen missing in action during the Vietnam War, during a repatriation ceremony at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, November 2012.
FILE - Pilots salute as U.S. soldiers carry a casket containing human remains, believed to belong to a U.S. servicemen missing in action during the Vietnam War, during a repatriation ceremony at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, November 2012.
Reuters
Vietnam advised the United States at the start of high-level talks this week it would open four additional sites to investigators seeking the remains of American military personnel missing since the Vietnam War, a senior U.S. defense official said.

Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Vikram Singh, who oversees U.S. military ties with South and Southeast Asia, said an eight-member delegation led by Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh told U.S. defense officials about the decision at the outset of talks at the Pentagon this week.

“They basically opened the meeting by turning over the information and providing us access to an additional four sites for remains recovery operations to go look for our fallen,” said Singh, calling it a “really meaningful” gesture.

A U.S. official said on Friday the sites were in the southern part of Vietnam and were small areas where specific incidents are believed to have taken place. Officials declined to elaborate, citing concerns for the families of the missing.

The Defense Department's POW/Missing Personnel Office says 1,643 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War, including 1,275 in Vietnam and the rest in Laos, Cambodia and China. The office has investigated 600 of the Vietnam cases and believes it will not be possible to recover the remains, leaving 675 still being sought in that country.

Vinh's delegation visited the Pentagon for talks that take place annually between the former enemies, which have been deepening military ties over the past decade.

The pace of contact between the two countries has increased in recent years as the United States has moved to refocus its energies on the Asia-Pacific region after more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The rebalancing takes place amid concerns among Washington and Asian allies about China's growing assertiveness in the region.

'Deepening ties'

Then-U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visited Vietnam last year, stopping at Cam Ranh Bay to visit a U.S. Navy supply vessel undergoing repairs, before traveling to Hanoi for talks with senior defense leaders.

“In the year since then, what we've seen is just an across-the-board deepening of defense ties,” Singh said in an interview this week. He noted that Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel both served in the Vietnam War and had a special interest in the country.

The United States and Vietnam have been cooperating in five areas since signing a memo of understanding in 2011: peacekeeping, maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, search and rescue, and high-level exchanges.

Singh said the two countries had been increasing cooperation on peacekeeping over the past year after Vietnam changed its laws and regulations to permit its military forces to participate in international peacekeeping operations.

“We see it as in our interest for all the Southeast Asian nations to be active supporters and contributors to peacekeeping operations,” he said.

The two sides also set the stage for further cooperation on maritime security during the visit, Singh said. Admiral Robert Papp, commandant of the Coast Guard, and Major General Nguyen Quang Dam, commander of Vietnam's coast guard, signed an agreement formalizing their decision to work together on equipment, training and capacity building.

“Having this cooperation is an opportunity for us to work together with them on things that we think will help contribute to overall peace and stability in the South China Sea,” said Singh.

The South China Sea has been the scene of increasing tensions in the region, as China and other countries have advanced competing territorial claims around the resource-rich waterway.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid