US helps Vietnam to eradicate deadly Agent Orange

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Vietnam and the United States have taken the first step towards cleaning up Agent Orange contamination.

The US sprayed 12 million gallons of the defoliant over jungles between 1961 and 1971 during the Vietnam war.

Vietnamese experts say more than three million people have suffered the effects of the herbicide, of which some 400,000 died.

The development is being hailed as one of the most significant in relations between Washington and Hanoi.

A ceremony to launch the programme was held at the Danang airport where the defoliant was stored before being sprayed over forests hiding fighters from the Viet Cong, guerrillas backed by the Communist government of North Vietnam.

US-Vietnam ties have blossomed since diplomatic relations were established 16 years ago and steps to resolve issues left over from the war have formed a cornerstone of progress, say correspondents...  

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