Secretary Leon Panetta Makes Historic Visit to Vietnam to Outline New Strategy for U.S. Presence in Asia
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made a historic visit to Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam today. The visit marks the first time a U.S. defense secretary has visited the country since the end of the Vietnam War. The bay was the main point of entry for U.S. troops and ships who docked there. Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin reported that Panetta’s visit is significant because it came a day after he addressed other defense ministers to outline new strategies for the region in order to put two-thirds of the U.S. Navy’s vessels in Asia.
Griffin spoke to Panetta while he was visiting a U.S. Naval ship. He told her, “The war does play a big role in terms of not only the lessons we learned from that war but I think also the fact that as a result of that war
we probably have an even higher obligation to get involved in the healing process by improving our relations with this country.”
The Vietnamese did not send a senior representative to meet Panetta at Cam Ranh Bay, which Griffin said shows that they are wary of welcoming the U.S. openly in order to avoid upsetting China. Panetta said, “The more I am out here, the more critical I view this region in terms of our national defense and the defense of the world.”