US President Barack Obama reached Vietnam last night ahead of a three day trip aimed at sealing the transformation of an old enemy into a new partner. The visit is a part of US strategic rebalance toward Asia to counter China's growing strength in the region. The President's top aides say, four decades after a war with Vietnam that deeply divided opinion in America, Obama aims to boost defence and economic ties with the country's communist rulers while also prodding them on human rights.

justify;">His visit has been preceded by a debate in Washington over whether Obama should use the three-day visit starting today to roll back an arms embargo on Hanoi, one of the last vestiges of wartime animosity. Experts say, such a step would anger China, which resents US efforts to forge stronger military bonds with Beijing's neighbours amid rising tensions in the disputed South China Sea. Obama will later fly to Japan for a G7 summit. He will also become the first US president to visit Hiroshima.

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