Thursday, October 30, 2003

Another Vietnam

It's looking like another Vietnam out there:

Plans for a groundbreaking visit by a U.S. frigate next month reflect Vietnam's increased interest in mutual cooperation against terrorism in Southeast Asia, a U.S. official said yesterday.

Military officials first disclosed plans for the visit to The Washington Times during a briefing in Hawaii earlier this month.

"A U.S. Navy ship should be steaming up the river to Ho Chi Minh [City] later in November," the U.S. official said yesterday, referring to the former Saigon.


"Both countries recognized that there are transnational issues that require cooperation," such as terrorism, piracy on the high seas and trafficking in drugs and people, the official said.

Terrorism seemed a remote issue to the Vietnamese until the Bali bombing that left 202 dead in Indonesia, the Marriott Hotel explosion in Jakarta, the capture of Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist Hambali in Thailand, and the appearance in Cambodia of radicals linked to Jemaah Islamiyah.

"All of that gave them a sense that maybe it's not so far away after all," said the U.S. official. "In the last few months, Vietnam has been viewing the issue with a greater sense of the fact that it could affect Vietnam."


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