Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) and the reunification of North and South Vietnam, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung harshly criticized the US for its past actions during the war on Thursday.
Accusing “US imperialists” of having tried to impose “neo colonial regime to turn South Vietnam into a US military base,” the prime minister went on to blame the US of having committed “countless barbarous crimes.”
The anniversary parade in Ho Chi Minh City celebrating the end of Vietnam War [April 30, 1975] was populated by thousands of soldiers, war veterans and Vietnamese citizens of all ages.
The Prime Minister praised the Communist Party and President Ho Chi Minh who led North Vietnam during the war, calling the outcome of the war “a triumph” which was celebrated by the Vietnamese, “friends near and far, and peace-loving people around the world.”
The Vietnam War, a Cold War-era conflict in Southeast Asia, took place in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, claiming 3 million Vietnamese and 58,000 American lives.
To stop the spread of communism, the US and other anti-communist countries supported the South Vietnamese against the North Vietnamese backed by its communist allies during the 20 year long war.
US diplomats did not attend the anniversary parade but held their own ceremony at the US Consulate in the afternoon, commemorating the last two Americans, Charles McMahon and Darwin Judge, killed in the Vietnam War.
Senior delegations of Laos, Cambodia, and Cuba visited Vietnam to attend the ceremonies.
Vietnam also received congratulatory messages from Lao and Russian leaders, and thanked communist countries for supporting Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
Dung pointed out that “great achievements of historical significance” were recorded after 30 years of reform, and that Vietnam had transformed “from an underdeveloped nation” to “a middle income developing country with annual average growth of 7 percent.”
“Americans remember the past and we honor it, while we look to the future and build on it,” said Ted Osius, US Ambassador to Vietnam.
“The stated goal of [the US and Vietnam’s] comprehensive partnership is to contribute to peace, stability, cooperation, and prosperity in each country, in the region and the world” said Osius, in an article published earlier this spring in the online publication of the Council of American Ambassadors where he noted progress and identified opportunities for joint activity in the future.