Obama reaches out to people a day after Vietnam arms deal

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — President Barack Obama is taking his push for closer ties with Vietnam directly to the people.

A day after knocking down one of the last vestiges of Cold War antagonism with a former war enemy, he faces calls Tuesday to more strongly address what’s seen as Vietnam’s abysmal human rights record.

Obama plans meetings with civil society members and entrepreneurs and then a speech aimed at the people of Vietnam.

On Monday he announced the lifting of a five-decade-old arms sales embargo that’s meant to help forge a new economic and security relationship.

Obama must balance this push for better ties with efforts to hold Vietnam’s communist leadership to account for charges of widespread abuse of dissidents.

From Hanoi, Obama will fly to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon.

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