The Special Forces of the US and Vietnam have hinted that they may start building ties between their militaries that were at war for decades. The indication has come following US President Barack Obama's announcement to end the arms embargo on Vietnam during his visit there on 23 May.
Leading the US Special Operations Forces in the Asia-Pacific region, Rear Admiral Colin Kilrain told Reuters that he had met the commander of Vietnam's elite forces on the sidelines of a conference in Florida this week.
"Both of us would like to deepen the relationship but we're also very mindful that we go at the pace of what our governments want to do," Kilrain said.
However, he emphasised that going forward any decision with respect to their contacts with Vietnam forces will be taken by both Washington and Hanoi.
"We were both very encouraged by the positive meeting that President Obama had with the Vietnamese. And we wanted to go back and tell our chains of commands that... we stand ready to take the next steps," he added.
The US Special Forces components include everything from Navy SEALs, army to air force. "For us, because we're light, we're small and we can move quickly, we're about re-establishing friendships and relationship. And we're oftentimes the easiest ones to start with militarily," Kilrain said.
The US Navy has already visited four port visits in 2015, a spokesman for the US Navy's Pacific Fleet said. Besides, on 23 May, the US president announced that the US may "send its additional vessels to visit the Vietnam ports", should Hanoi call for help in tackling humanitarian crises in its region.
The White House said it has spent more than $92m (£62.7m) since 1993 to support Vietnam address the threats posed by unexploded bombs from the Vietnam War, apart from helping the Southeast Asian nation to develop a peacekeeping training centre near Hanoi.