See More on Facebook

Politics

US Senator John McCain: Obituary from Vietnam

US Senator McCain – who helped lay a foundation for Vietnam-US relations – passes away.


Written by

Updated: August 27, 2018

Senator John McCain, who helped lay the foundation for a cooperative Vietnam – US relationship, passed away on Saturday (US time) at the age of 81.

Tributes to the politicians were paid yesterday including one from the man who was in charge of the prison where he was held for five years.

McCain served in the invading war of the US in Vietnam. He joined in the Rolling Thunder air campaign in 1967, bombing targets in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (northern Vietnam). His plane was shot down on October 26, 1967 and McCain was taken prisoner. He was returned to the US in an exchange of prisoners in 1973.

During his time he was held at Hỏa Lò Prison, now a museum which McCain has visited many times.

The prison was being run at the time by Colonel Trần Trọng Duyệt.

Speaking to Vietnam News yesterday, he said: “I had a lot of time meeting him when he was kept in the prison.

“At that time I liked him personally for his toughness and strong stance. Later on, when he became a US Senator, he and Senator John Kerry greatly contributed to promote Vietnam-US relations so I was very fond of him.”

“When I learnt about his death early this morning, I feel very sad. I would like to send condolences to his family. I think it’s the same feeling for all Vietnamese people as he has greatly contributed to the development of Vietnam – US relations.”

Returning from Vietnam, McCain joined politics and was one of the first to campaign for normalisation of US – Vietnam relations through promoting humanitarian issues such as removing unexploded devices left by the war, searching for missing-in-action personnel, supporting people with disabilities caused by the war, and detoxifying areas polluted by dioxin.

In 1994, the US Senate approved a resolution sponsored by McCain and Senator John Kerry, calling to end the economic sanction against Vietnam, paving the way for the improving of relations between the two countries a year later.

Following the normalisation of bilateral ties, McCain and Kerry visited Vietnam many times to address the issue of American missing-in-action soldiers (POW/MIA).

Senator McCain also supported the Vietnamese community in the US, serving as a bridge between them and the US authorities as well as the Vietnamese Government.

He has a very special position in the history of the Vietnam – US relationship, said Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Hà Kim Ngọc.

Ngọc shared that he had opportunities to work with McCain as his interpreter during the US Senator’s working trips to Vietnam.

From those trips, Ngọc noticed the Senator’s strategic vision, leadership and high political determination for the normalisation of Vietnam – US relations despite very great internal obstacles.

“It can be said that Senator McCain is a symbol of the Vietnam – US reconciliation process during which the two sides overcame their past as old enemies to normalise and develop bilateral relations.

“McCain enthusiastically supported and made untiring efforts for the Vietnam – US comprehensive partnership,” Ngọc said.

Along with Senator John Kerry and other senators like Patrick Leahy or Jim Webb, McCain had been at the forefront in the normalisation and enhancement of Vietnam – US friendship and co-operation, he added.

At the most difficult time of the bilateral relations when many still expressed suspicion and even protest about the Vietnam – US ties, McCain and Kerry and other senators had played a decisive role in the irreversible process of normalisation, Ngọc said.

Therefore, it could be said that McCain deserves credit for promoting the Vietnam – US relations and later, the comprehensive partnership between the two countries, according to the ambassador.

He said: “Even during his illness, McCain still paid attention to Vietnam-related issues such as cooperation with Vietnam, the East Sea issues and the catfish programme that affects poor farmers in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam.

“With the support of both the Republican and Democratic Parties in the US Congress, the Vietnam – US comprehensive partnership will continue thriving for the benefits of the two countries.”

At a meeting with the Senator in Washington DC on January 21, 2016, Vietnamese Ambassador to the US at the time, Phạm Quang Vinh praised the Senator for his great contribution to the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries.

In reply, McCain said he always attached importance to the US – Vietnam relations, and for him, Vietnam has an important position and role in the region.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Viet Nam News
About the Author: Viet Nam News is one of the country's top English language daily newspapers, providing coverage of the latest domestic and international developments in a range of areas.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Politics

President Xi emphasizes role of Hong Kong, Macau

Both Hong Kong and Macao were told to integrate with nation’s overall development. President Xi Jinping underlined on Monday the unique and irreplaceable role of the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions for China’s reform and opening-up in the new era. He also called on the two regions to better integrate themselves with the nation’s overall development. Xi’s remarks came as he met with a delegation of about 210 representatives from the two SARs who were in Beijing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up. The position and role of Hong Kong and Macao will only be strengthened rather than weakened, Xi said. The two regions should continue to play a leading role and enable more capital, technology and talent to take part in the country’s high-quality development and in the new round of high-level opening-up, he said. People of the two regions should continu


By China Daily
November 13, 2018

Politics

Suu Kyi stripped of Amnesty honour

The Amnesty International has stripped Aung San Suu Kyi of its highest honour, the latest of several honours taken away from her since last year’s brutal military crackdown on the Rohingyas. This is the eighth honour that the former Nobel peace prizewinner has been stripped of over the past year, with Amnesty following the example of Canada, US Holocaust Museum, UK’s Edinburgh, Oxford, Glasgow and Newcastle and Canada’s Carleton Universities which also revoked Suu Kyi’s honorary degrees and awards. The long-celebrated Nobel Laureate was given Amnesty’s most prestigious honour, the Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2009 marking the 20th anniversary of her arrest and 20 years since it declared her a prisoner of conscience. The AI yesterday announced withdrawal of its highest honour fr


By Daily Star
November 13, 2018

Politics

US calls on China to remove missiles from Spratly Islands

For the first time, the United States called on China to remove missiles it deployed on three fortified outposts it built in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The United States called on China to withdraw its missile systems from disputed features in the Spratly Islands, and reaffirmed that all countries should avoid addressing disputes through coercion or intimidation,” the Department of State released in a statement on Saturday (Philippine time) after the high-level US-China diplomatic and security dialogue in Washington. Both US and China committed to supporting peace and stability in the South China Sea, the peaceful resolution of disputes, and freedom of navigation and overflight and other lawful uses of the sea in accordance with international law during the dialogue, it added.


By Philippine Daily Inquirer
November 12, 2018

Politics

Date set for Bangladesh elections

Bangladesh will hold a parliamentary election on December 23 despite the failure of political parties to resolve major contentious issues over the polls. The country’s chief election commissioner KM Nurul Huda said there was a “congenial atmosphere” to hold the polls and promised it will be free and fair. “We hope we will be able to hold a free, fair and acceptable election,” Huda said in a televised address. A day before, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wrapped up week-long talks between the ruling Awami League-led 14-party combine and at least 80 parties under the banners of different alliances. During the dialogue, Jatiya Oikyafront, an alliance of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and several other opposition parties, demanded for a dissolution of parliament before the polls and the creation of a caretaker government. The ruling party, however, rejected it over const


By Asia News Network
November 9, 2018

Politics

Xi, Kissinger expound ties’ importance

President Xi Jinping met with former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Thursday. President Xi Jinping called for coordinated efforts with the United States to promote healthy development of Sino-US ties. Xi made the remark on Thursday while meeting with former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The president’s comment comes ahead of his planned meeting with US President Donald Trump at the upcoming G20 Summit in Argentina. China and the US should exercise proper judgment toward each other’s strategic intentions, Xi said, adding that there are rising negative voices in the US toward China of late, which should be taken note of. China would like to properly improve bilateral ties through friendly coordination on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, along with the spirit of mutual


By China Daily
November 9, 2018

Politics

Woman accused of blasphemy freed in Pakistan

Asia Bibi was initially found guilty of blasphemy and sentenced to death. After her release from Multan’s women prison in the light of the Oct 31 Supreme Court verdict overturning her conviction and death sentence, Asia Bibi was brought to Islamabad on board a special aircraft on Wednesday night, reliable sources told Dawn Newspaper. The aircraft carrying Aasia Bibi, whose acquittal of blasphemy charge sparked countrywide protests by religious parties and groups, landed at the old Benazir Bhutto International Airport of Islamabad adjacent to Nur Khan Air Base. Soon after her landing, she was taken to an undisclosed place in Islamabad amid tight security. The authorities were keeping her movement and whereabouts secret for security reasons. Authorities concerned were also tight-lipped about her future plan and it was unclear if she would be kept in Islamabad or would be allowed to fly out of the


By Dawn
November 8, 2018