Vietnam-US relations: What the Vietnamese say

By Nga Pham
In Hanoi


Four decades since the Vietnam War ended, America is the largest importer of Vietnamese commodities, while the Vietnamese are the eighth largest foreign student community in the US. This weekend's US visit by Vietnam's parliamentary chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung reflects the deepening political ties between these two former enemies over the last decade. Ordinary Vietnamese summarise how 10 years of reciprocal summits are transforming their perceptions of their old enemy.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionAn estimated 1.5 to 3 million Vietnamese and 58,000 US servicemen were killed in the Vietnam War
image copyrightLe Quang Nhat/AFP/Getty Images
image captionFour decades on, Vietnam's first McDonald's draws middle-class locals away from noodles

Hoang Thi Lieu, 21, tour company employee, from Hai Duong Province

image captionHoang Thi Lieu says she is really impressed by American punctuality

"Since Vietnam normalised relations with the US, many more Americans are visiting and working in Vietnam. I work in tourism, and I like American tourists a lot. Most of them are really polite and interested in our country. Some even come here to express their regrets over the Vietnam War, so they try to be extra nice towards us. We have a lot to learn from Americans."

Nguyen Vien, 66, writer, from Ho Chi Minh City

image captionNguyen Vien says he has Americans to thank for believing there is no need to dwell on the past

"For me, American culture is primarily about jeans. They are comfortable, cool and versatile. I wear jeans most of the time. Americans have also taught us how to be practical. So I no longer dwell on things, I look to the future. And now, when I meet my friends for coffee in the morning, we split the bill instead of one person paying for it all. Very American, I think... "

image captionKentucky Fried Chicken has existed for years in Vietnam's largest city, Ho Chi Minh, but was the first American fast food chain to open in Hanoi nine years ago

Nguyen Thuy Duong, 45, businesswoman, in Ho Chi Minh City

image captionNguyen Thuy Duong's family has embraced American food culture in Ho Chi Minh

"Since it first opened in Vietnam, KFC became my childrens' favourite. My son, now 13, would pick it over Vietnamese cuisine any day. He likes it, not just because the food is tasty but also because he can play in the restaurant play area and collect stickers. I try to limit it to one visit per week and as a treat for my children."

Le Hoang Giang, 67, former police officer, in Hanoi

image captionLe Hoang Giang belongs to Hanoi's older generation, who are trying to bury past memories of hatred for America

"I think Vietnam's new policy of opening up and befriending other countries especially the US is very wise. We used to think capitalist societies were morally empty but America is actually a great civilization with a great culture. Having such a powerful ally is a good thing."

Vu Thi Kieu Oanh, 22, shop assistant, from Quang Ninh Province

image captionVu Thi Kieu Oanh is on the look out for an eligible American bachelor

"I love Hollywood movies. I watch so many. I have many idols among US movie stars, especially Angelina Jolie. She is so beautiful. I actually want to marry an American man!"

image caption16,000 Vietnamese went to the United States to be schooled or to study in 2014

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