Chief of General Staff makes first visit to Pentagon

Deputy Defence Minister Sen. Lieut. Gen. Do Ba Ty—the Vietnam People’s Army Chief of General Staff—visited the Pentagon on June 20, marking a milestone in US-Vietnam relations nearly 40 years after the Vietnam War.

Deputy Defence Minister Sen. Lieut. Gen. Do Ba Ty

Ty met with US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Army General Martin Dempsey.

“This was the first-ever visit by a Vietnamese chief of defence to the Pentagon,” Dempsey’s spokesperson Navy Commander Scott McIlnay said in an e-mailed statement.

McIllnay reported Dempsey and Ty discussed the Obama administration’s “rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region.” Last year the Pentagon announced plans to shift its attention and additional military assets to the region.

Ty’s visit also reflects improving relations between the former combatants of a war that ended when Vietnam’s Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) was totally liberated in 1975. The US and Vietnam resumed diplomatic relations in 1995.

After his six-day visit to the US, the Deputy Defence Minister will also travel to France at the invitation of French Defence Staff Chief Admiral Édouard Guillaud.