Kerry says US ties can grow if more freedom in Vietnam

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday lauded the warming of ties with former war enemy Vietnam but said the scope of relations would depend on the communist rulers’ willingness to protect human rights and freedoms. Kerry is Vietnam’s latest high-profile visitor from Washington as the former war enemies mark two decades of calibrated engagement since the normalization of ties that have expanded rapidly in the past year. In a speech to mark the anniversary, Kerry said barriers of “mistrust and misunderstanding” were falling and urged Vietnam to show greater commitment to pursuing legal reforms and allowing freedom of expression and assembly. “Progress on human rights and the rule of law will provide the foundation for a deeper and more sustainable strategic partnership,” Kerry said. “Only you can decide the pace and direction of the process in building this partnership.”



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