Vietnam remembers departed U.S. Senator John McCain as a friend who worked hard to normalize bilateral ties.
Dao Thi Tiec, 85, who lives near the Truc Bach Lake in Hanoi, told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA; German Press Agency) last October that she vividly remembers the day he was captured.
It was in 1967, a time when the U.NNNNNNNNNNNNNNS.extended the war to North Vietnam with fierce bombing raids, forcing families like Tiec to send their children home to evacuate.
On October 26, 1967, she heard that an American plane had been shot down and crashed into a nearby power plant.Soldiers and militiamen quickly arrested the pilot who launched into Truc Bach Lake.
Tiec ran outside, right in time to see security forces escorting the American pilot.She recalled how tall he looked.
"I was glad to be able to witness that scene after so many people were killed by American bombs," she said.
The American pilot, U.NNNNNNNNNNNNNNS.Navy Captain John McCain, imprisoned for more than 5 years at Hoa Lo Prison, Hanoi.
After he was freed, McCain began his political career at home, becoming a U.NNNNNNNNNNNNNNS.House Senator and Presidential Candidate.
Vietnam remembers him as a person who worked hard to normalize U.NNNNNNNNNNNNNNS.- Vietnam bilateral relations.
"There is a paradox in the relationship between Vietnam and the U.NNNNNNNNNNNNNNS.Those are the people who fought in the Vietnam War who became the pioneers in repairing bilateral relations,” said historian Duong Trung Quoc.
McCain first returned to Hanoi was in 1985, 10 years before diplomatic relations were restored between the two countries.Since then, he has regularly visited Vietnam, with his most recent trip to Cam Ranh Port in June 2017 aboard the navy ship that bears his name.
U.NNNNNNNNNNNNNNS.Navy Captain John McCain (standing right). Photo by US Navy
In recent years, McCain had consistently affirmed that Vietnam will be a strong security partner for the U.NNNNNNNNNNNNNNS., with Washington calling for peace, security and compliance with international law in the Asia Pacific region, including the South China Sea, also known as the East Sea.
McCain’s advocacy for closer U.NNNNNNNNNNNNNNS.-Vietnam times came to the fore in a debate with Senator Sam Johnson, who was also a US prisoner detained in Vietnam, the Washingon Post noted.
In a 1995 debate before the U.NNNNNNNNNNNNNNS. Congress on normalizing relations with Vietnam, Johnson said the U.NNNNNNNNNNNNNNS.diplomatic relations with Vietnam should not be resumed because this country has not provided sufficient information about the Americans missing in the Vietnam war.
Johnson said normalization of diplomatic relations was "an attempt of Hanoi to reach the U.NNNNNNNNNNNNNNS.market.”
McCain, on the other hand, argued that the normalization move with Vietnam was necessary, and that letting personal emotions influence the decision of what is the best for the U.NNNNNNNNNNNNNNS.is a waiver of responsibility.
The debate between Johnson and McCain reflected the deep divide within the U.NNNNNNNNNNNNNNS.on Vietnam.
The American Legion, America's largest veteran organization with many members who fought in Vietnam, was strongly opposed to the normalization of bilateral relations, while the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which represents 600,000 who served during the Vietnam War, supported McCain's efforts.
McCain got the backing of Senator John F.Kerry and President Bill Clinton in their efforts, which led to the formal normalization of relations in 1995.
"It is important to consider that this American veteran's contributions to post-war Vietnam-U.NNNNNNNNNNNNNNS.In this respect, relations are an element, an element of reconciliation," said Vietnamese historian Quoc Quoc.
Despite suffering from brain cancer in the last years of his life, Senator McCain continued to call for peace, stability and legal order in Asia-Pacific.He was one of those who spoke out against China's artificial islands and militarization of the South China Sea.
McCain died in Arizona on the evening of August 25 (August 26 morning, Vietnam time) at the age of 81.Leaders around the world have mourned the death of a "giant" of American politics.
Flowers laid at the statue of late US Senator John McCain at Truc Bach lake, Hanoi, where his plane was shot down in October 1967. Photo by Vu Anh
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