The Latest: McCain, Kerry say Obama trip proves Vietnam ties – Washington Post

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HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — The Latest on U.S. President Barack Obama’s first visit to Vietnam (all times local):

5:50 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Sen. John McCain say President Barack Obama’s visit to Vietnam proves that old enemies can become new partners.

Kerry, McCain and former Sen. Bob Kerrey all served in the Vietnam War. They say in a joint op-ed that there are few easy answers about what lessons were learned from the war.

The three veterans say the U.S. must never again confuse a war with its warriors. They say U.S. leaders must be honest about the goals when deploying troops. And they say the U.S. must approach foreign cultures with humility.

Writing in the New York Times, they say they could never have imagined during the war that the countries would one day cooperate on trade and even security. They say mutual interests will drive the future partnership.


5:30 p.m.

President Barack Obama is talking with Vietnamese entrepreneurs about their business ideas and roadblocks to their eventual success.

The conversation is taking place at the Dreamplex, a shared office space in Ho Chi Minh City that rents workstations and rooms to startup entrepreneurs.

Obama is telling his audience that their success will send a message about Vietnam’s potential for innovation to the world.

He says the Dreamplex is where ideas are “becoming reality” and that the young people who use the space are “making things happen.”

Obama is also using the appearance to pitch a 12-nation, trans-Pacific trade agreement that’s stalled in the U.S. Congress and opposed by the leading U.S. presidential candidates. He says the pact will accelerate economic reforms in Vietnam, boost its economic competitiveness and open up new markets.


5 p.m.

President Barack Obama had a quick comeback for a Buddhist monk who urged him to pray to a certain statue if he’d like to have a son.

“I like daughters,” quipped Obama, who is the father of teenagers Malia and Sasha.

Obama was touring the Jade Emperor Pagoda, one of the most notable and most visited cultural destinations in Ho Chi Minh City.

The pink-colored building with a turquoise tiled roof was built in the early 1900s by the immigrant Chinese community and today serves multiple faiths.

Obama headed straight for the pagoda after landing in Ho Chi Minh City from Hanoi, where he spent the opening days of his first visit to Vietnam.


4:15 p.m.

President Barack Obama has arrived in Ho Chi Minh City.

It’s the second stop on Obama’s three-day visit to America’s former wartime enemy.

Ho Chi Minh City is formerly known and still referred to as Saigon, and is famous for its role in the Vietnam War as the capital of U.S.-backed South Vietnam.

Obama plans to do some sightseeing by taking in the Jade Emperor Pagoda. It’s considered to be one of the most beautiful pagodas in southern Vietnam. It’s also a repository for religious documents and includes more than 300 statues and other relics.

Obama also scheduled a tour of the Dreamplex, a shared office space that rents workstations and rooms to startup entrepreneurs.

Obama spent the opening days of his trip in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. He arrived late Sunday.


2 p.m.

President Barack Obama taped the second part of an interview with CNN personality Anthony Bourdain before leaving the Vietnamese capital for his next stop: Ho Chi Minh City.

Bourdain’s “Part Unknown” food travelogue is one of the network’s most popular nonfiction series.

Obama and Bourdain met in a small complex in Hanoi’s Me Tri neighborhood in a heavy downpour.

The two met over a restaurant dinner on Monday to discuss Obama’s trip to Asia and his interest in the people, food and culture of Vietnam, CNN said.

CNN has aired Bourdain’s show since 2013. He travels to a different part of the world for each episode to explore that area’s culture, primarily by sharing in the area’s distinct native cuisine.

The interview with Obama will be featured in the eighth season of “Parts Unknown,” which begins in September.


1:10 p.m.

President Barack Obama is pressing Vietnam to respect rights to freedom of speech, a free press, and to associate and demonstrate that are written into the country’s constitution.

Obama says Vietnam has nothing to fear from upholding these rights. He says doing so reinforces stability and doesn’t threaten it. Obama also says nations are more successful when these rights are respected.

Vietnam is routinely criticized for its human rights record.

The communist nation holds about 100 political prisoners. There have also been more detentions this year, including some in the past week.

The government in Hanoi says that only lawbreakers are punished.


12:40 p.m.

President Barack Obama is pushing for ratification of a 12-nation, free-trade agreement as he speaks to the Vietnamese people, saying it will lessen reliance on one trading partner and broaden ties with more partners, including the United States.

Obama says the Trans-Pacific Partnership will lead to regional cooperation among participating nations and bring about higher wages for Vietnam’s workers. He says that would help them buy more goods from the United States.

He notes that the agreement gives workers the right to form unions and prohibits forced labor and child labor.

Obama is pitching a trade agreement that is stalled in Congress and opposed by the leading U.S. presidential candidates.

He says the U.S. is ready to help Vietnam as it works to fully implement its commitments under the agreement.


12:30 p.m.

President Barack Obama says improved relations with Vietnam, America’s former wartime foe, is teaching the world a few lessons.

Obama is in the midst of a historic visit to the southeast Asian nation and is delivering an address to the Vietnamese people.

Obama says what was once unimaginable has come true – that Vietnam and the United States are partners in a thriving relationship.

And it’s a partnership that he says is teaching the world that hearts can change.

Obama says it’s also showing the world that peace is better than war.

Obama is speaking at the National Convention Center in Hanoi.


10:40 a.m.

President Barack Obama is taking his push for closer ties with Vietnam directly to the people.

A day after knocking down one of the last vestiges of Cold War antagonism with a former war enemy, he faces calls Tuesday to more strongly address what’s seen as Vietnam’s abysmal human rights record.

Obama plans meetings with civil society members and entrepreneurs and then a speech aimed at the people of Vietnam.

On Monday he announced the lifting of a five-decade-old arms sales embargo that’s meant to help forge a new economic and security relationship.

Obama must balance this push for better ties with efforts to hold Vietnam’s communist leadership to account for charges of widespread abuse of dissidents.

From Hanoi, Obama will fly to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon.

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The Latest: McCain, Kerry say Obama trip proves Vietnam ties – Washington Post