Vietnam embraces old enemy U.S. as counterweight to China

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HANOI — Pham Binh Minh, whose father fought to force the United States out of Vietnam, is working fervently to elevate the interest and involvement of his country’s former enemy.

Vietnam wants a U.S. presence for economic reasons and as a balance to China, the regional superpower. Mr. Minh is the new foreign minister; his father was part of Ho Chi Minh’s Communist regime during the bitter conflict of the 1960s and 1970s; later, he was foreign minister when Vietnam clashed with China.

“One cannot imagine how fast the relationship between the United States and Vietnam has developed,” Mr. Minh, 52, said in Hanoi.

“After 16 years of normalization, we’ve come to the stage where we’ve developed the relationship in nearly all aspects.”

While the United States hasn’t fully erased the pain of that war, the Vietnamese, who suffered far more, have embraced their old adversary....

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