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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid