Before departing Vietnam on Monday President Biden paid respects to late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) at a memorial to the Vietnam War veteran at Trúc Bạch Lake.
During the Vietnam War, then-Navy aviator McCain was captured from Trúc Bạch Lake after he was shot down over Hanoi. He spent five and a half years from 1967 to 1973 as a prisoner of war at the notorious Vietnamese detention site nicknamed the “Hanoi Hilton.” McCain died in 2018 after a battle with glioblastoma; he’d served in the Senate along with Biden for some three decades.
Biden said Monday that visiting the monument to McCain was important to him. “I miss him. He was a good friend,” the President added. He was accompanied at the memorial by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and climate czar John Kerry who’s also a Vietnam War veteran.
Biden traveled to Vietnam over the weekend following the Group of 20 (G-20) Summit in India. During his visits to both New Delhi and Hanoi, the President made the case that the U.S. is a more reliable and trustworthy partner than China—though he stressed that he was not seeking a new Cold War with the Chinese despite recent accusations from Beijing to the contrary.
Biden told General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng of the Communist Party of Vietnam on Sunday that the his country and the U.S. have an “enormous opportunity.”
“Vietnam and the United States are critical partners at what I would argue is a very critical time. I’m not saying that to be polite. I’m saying it because I mean it from the bottom of my heart,” said Biden, making reference to supply chains and climate change. He further lauded “aspirations for a future of greater peace, greater security and greater prosperity.”
“I’m convinced we can achieve it,” said Biden, to which he added, “This can be the beginning of even a greater era of cooperation.”