On March 26th the governments of the United States of America and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, in partnership with the United States Institute of Peace, hosted a landmark event examining the transformation from enemies to partners by the two countries since the end of the war in 1975.
In the thriving industrial city of Bien Hoa, about 20 miles east of Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, there is a large air base, just beyond a sweeping bend in the Dong Nai River. During the American war in Vietnam, it was said to be the busiest airport in the world. Since the war ended in 1975, a dense cluster of four residential neighborhoods has grown up around the base. Their total population is perhaps 111,000, while the base itself, now home to advanced long-range fighter-bombers of the Vietnam People’s Air Force, has another 1,200 permanent residents. Continue reading “Fifty Years After, A Daunting Cleanup of Vietnam’s Toxic Legacy”
On a mild, sunny morning last November, Chuck Searcy and I drove out along a spur of the old Ho Chi Minh Trail to the former Marine base at Khe Sanh, which sits in a bowl of green mountains and coffee plantations in Vietnam’s Quang Tri province, hard on the border with Laos. The seventy-seven-day siege of Khe Sanh in early 1968, coinciding with the Tet Offensive, was the longest battle of what Vietnamese call the American War and a pivotal event in the conflict. By the off-kilter logic of Saigon and Washington, unleashing enough technology and firepower to produce a ten-to-one kill ratio was a metric of success, but the televised carnage of 1968, in which 16,592 Americans died, was too much for audiences back home. After Tet and Khe Sanh, the war was no longer America’s to win, only to avoid losing. Continue reading “The Lethal Legacy of the Vietnam War”
English after Vietnamese
Các nữ đại sứ thăm đội rà phá toàn nữ của RENEW-NPA
Đội rà phá hiện trường giao tranh toàn nữ RENEW-NPA và bốn nữ đại sứ, hàng trước (từ trái qua phải Deborah Paul, Canada; Wendy Matthews, New Zealand; Grete Løchen, Na Uy; và Beatrice Maser Mallor, Thụy Sĩ). Hải Lăng, Quảng Trị, 09/5/2019. © Hien Ngo / RENEW-NPA.
Hải Lăng, Quảng Trị (9/5/2019) – Bốn nhà lãnh đạo của cộng đồng quốc tế ở Việt Nam, các nữ đại sứ của Thụy Sĩ, Na Uy, Canada, và New Zealand (được biết đến là Nhóm G4) tại Việt Nam, hôm thứ Năm đến Quảng Trị để xem một đội rà phá hiện trường toàn nữ làm việc.
Đoàn gồm có Đại sứ Deborah Paul (Canada), Wendy Matthews (New Zealand), Grete Løchen (Na Uy), và Beatrice Maser Mallor (Thụy Sĩ). Chuyến thăm chính thức dài hai ngày của họ là để trực tiếp tìm hiểu về hậu quả chiến tranh ở Quảng Trị, đặc biệt là nỗ lực đang diễn ra để khảo sát và rà phá bom mìn còn sót lại sau chiến tranh mà còn đe dọa cuộc sống của người dân địa phương. Các đại sứ cũng thăm các dự án phát triển do các nước nhóm G4 tài trợ. Continue reading “Các nữ đại sứ thăm đội rà phá toàn nữ của RENEW-NPA – Women Ambassadors Visit RENEW-NPA’s All-Woman Clearance Team”
April 14, 2019
At age 30, Nguyen Thi Thuy has started in a job that everyone in Vietnam believed that only men could do. This mother of one daughter now leads an all-female clearance team of 16 members for clearing cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war contaminated land in Quang Tri Province.
The youngest from a family of eight children in Gio Chau Commune, Gio Linh District, Nguyen Thi Thuy has been working with the Survey and Clearance Program of Project RENEW and Norwegian People’s Aid (RENEW-NPA) in Quang Tri Province since 2013.
Vietnam and the US have together marked the transformation from enemies to partners since the end of the war in 1975 by overcoming war legacies, among priorities in the bilateral ties.
US expert helps Vietnam settle unexploded odnance. Photo: PeaceTrees
Tackling war legacies has required both time and efforts that neither Hanoi nor Washington have been reluctant to do over the past decades, making the relationship a case study of foe-turned-friend. Continue reading “How Vietnam, US heal wounds of war to build up comprehensive partnership”
An ‘other’ reflects on the ways in which he and many others feel they belong, why Vietnam is home.
I have spent over 40 percent of my adult life outside of my home country, never content with having my soul controlled by geography, to paraphrase George Santayana. I carry a U.S. passport but it doesn’t define me. I am a U.S. ex-patriot and global citizen who calls Vietnam home.
It was during my first visit to Hanoi 23 years ago this month that this country – with its tragic yet inspirational millennia-long history – cast its spell on me. After moving here in 2005, I joined a select group of expats – an estimated 100,000 of them, according to official sources – who live in the midst of 97 million Vietnamese.
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — On May 25, 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry took the stage at the luxury Rex Hotel in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Earlier on their trip together, President Barack Obama had announced a major development in a project Kerry had championed: The Vietnamese government had granted a license for Fulbright University Vietnam, the country’s first independent, private and nonprofit liberal arts university. About $40 million from the U.S. government would go toward the project, along with 25 hectares of rent-free land donated by the Ho Chi Minh City government. On this day, the two countries would officially mark the milestone. Continue reading “How a U.S.-Backed University in Vietnam Unleashed Old Demons”
Dec. 21, 2018
Decades after the war with America ended, Vietnamese families continue to search for the remains of their kin who are still missing in action.
By Joseph Babcock (Mr. Babcock, a teacher of writing, is working on a book about contemporary Vietnam)
A war veteran places incense on graves in Hanoi on the national Day for Martyrs and Wounded Soldiers. Credit Hoang Dinh Nam / Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
On July 27, the day a collection of remains believed to be those of American soldiers lost in the Korean War were flown out of North Korea, I was driving from Hanoi to Vietnam’s rural northern province of Yen Bai. My host that morning was Ngo Thuy Hang, the 42-year-old vice director of Marin, a local nonprofit devoted to helping Vietnamese families locate the remains of their loved ones. Continue reading “Vietnam’s Sad Hunt: 300,000 Missing Souls”
Chuck Searcy: This report is from my colleague Ngo Xuan Hien at Project RENEW, describing another finding of a big bomb in Quang Tri Province which was safely removed to the demolition site and destroyed. The bomb is bigger than most ordnance cleaned up and destroyed every day — usually cluster bombs, grenades, artillery rounds, mortars — but now even these infrequent occurrences of 500-pound or 750-pound bombs are treated somewhat routinely. That is to say, local people are no longer alarmed, once they report the finding they are confident that NPA-RENEW technicians or other NGO teams coordinated by the Provincial Legacy of War Coordination Center will come quickly to the site and handle the threat skillfully and professionally, and residents can soon return to their normal activities. The situation is being managed, and that is the key to long-term safety and protection of villagers, farmers, school children.
Hai Lang District, Quang Tri (28 November 2018) — Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams managed by NPA-Project RENEW on Wednesday safely destroyed a 750-pound U.S. aircraft bomb at their Central Demolition Site in Hai Que Commune. It was identified an air-dropped general purpose bomb, M117 series, that was extensively used by U.S. military forces during the Vietnam War. Read more here.
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Quang Tri (VNA) – The central province of Quang Tri has mobilised more than 20 projects and non-project aid packages worth over 4 million USD in the first nine months of the year to address the lingering consequences of bombs and mines left by wars across the locality. Continue reading “Quang Tri mobilises resources to settle post-war landmines”
U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (R) meets Vietnam’s Defence Minister General Ngo Xuan Lich in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam October 17, 2018.
REUTERS WED OCT 17, 2018
BIEN HOA AIR BASE, Vietnam (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday visited a former American air base in southern Vietnam that will soon become the biggest-ever U.S. cleanup site for contamination left by the defoliant Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
Standing near a skull-and-crossbones warning sign meant to keep people away from toxic soil, Mattis was briefed by Vietnamese officials about the massive contamination area. Continue reading “U.S. prepares for biggest-ever Agent Orange cleanup in Vietnam”
Various explosive devices found at the construction site in Quang Tri (Photo: nhandan.com.vn)
Quang Tri (VNA) – A team of the “Restoring the Environment and Neutralising the Effects of the War” (RENEW) project said it safely moved 590 explosive devices from a construction site in the central province of Quang Tri.
The mission took place from October 10-11, right after the team received a report on explosive devices from workers, who were building a guest house of Quang Tri town’s military high command at a location near the southern bank of Thach Han river.
At the site, the team found many devices, including shells and mortar shells, at a depth of 2 metres, with their detonators remained intact.
The devices were moved to a safe site for defusing in Trieu Trach commune, Trieu Phong district.
RENEW, mainly sponsored by the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), aims to help Quang Tri, known as one of the provinces hardest hit by the war, settle post-war bomb and landmine impacts.
To date, more than 131 million square metres of land in Quang Tri province have been mapped out as confirmed hazardous areas that need full clearance. The NPA’s teams have destroyed about 70,000 pieces of dangerous ordnance, helping to eliminate the risks of death and injury for local residents.-VNA