Tom Carper first visited Vietnam as a pilot during the Vietnam War. Now, decades later, Delaware’s senior U.S. Senator is just back from a trip with President Obama to the Southeast Asian nation.
Since his time as a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War, Sen. Carper (D- Delaware) has returned to the country several times. In 1991, Carper was part of a congressional delegation made up of Vietnam veterans as part of an effort to normalize relations and gether information on soldiers who were reported missing in action. In 1998, Carper led a Delaware trade delegation after diplomatic relations had been restored a few years earlier.
This week, Carper returned from another trip to Vietnam and reflected on how the country has changed over the years. He penned an essay on his experiences that was published on medium.com. “America is now the number one export market for Vietnamese products. American exports to Vietnam have risen, but not as strongly,” Carper said.
He lauded President Obama’s comments on human rights during their visit earlier this week. “He raised on his own the issue of human rights and protections for freedom of expression, freedom of worship, and explained how important it is to our country.”
And while some have been critical of President’s decision to lift the sale of more military equipment to Vietnam, Carper said it the idea has merit. “The decision…will not only allow that country to strengthen their defensive military capabilities in the face of Chinese sabre-rattling in the South China Sea, it will also serve to further bolster American exports to Vietnam for years to come.”
America is now the number one export market for Vietnamese products. American exports to Vietnam have risen, but not as strongly.