World

Vietnam defense leaders says US weapons sales should not be affected by human rights issues

  • U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, right, shakes hands with his Vietnamese counterpart Gen. Phung Quang Thanh before their talks behind closed doors in Hanoi, Vietnam Monday, June 1, 2015. Carter is on a three-day visit to Vietnam to deepen military cooperation between the two former foes. (AP Photo/Tran Van Minh.)

    U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, right, shakes hands with his Vietnamese counterpart Gen. Phung Quang Thanh before their talks behind closed doors in Hanoi, Vietnam Monday, June 1, 2015. Carter is on a three-day visit to Vietnam to deepen military cooperation between the two former foes. (AP Photo/Tran Van Minh.)  (The Associated Press)

  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, right, and his Vietnamese counterpart Gen. Phung Quang Thanh, center, review an honor guard in Hanoi, Vietnam Monday, June 01, 2015. Carter is on a three-day visit to Vietnam to deepen military cooperation between the two former foes. (AP Photo/Tran Van Minh)

    U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, right, and his Vietnamese counterpart Gen. Phung Quang Thanh, center, review an honor guard in Hanoi, Vietnam Monday, June 01, 2015. Carter is on a three-day visit to Vietnam to deepen military cooperation between the two former foes. (AP Photo/Tran Van Minh)  (The Associated Press)

  • U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks to reporters at a joint press conference with his Vietnamese counterpart Gen. Phung Quang Thanh in Hanoi, Vietnam Monday, June 1, 2015. Carter is on a three-day visit to Vietnam to deepen military cooperation between the two former foes. (AP Photo/Tran Van Minh.)

    U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks to reporters at a joint press conference with his Vietnamese counterpart Gen. Phung Quang Thanh in Hanoi, Vietnam Monday, June 1, 2015. Carter is on a three-day visit to Vietnam to deepen military cooperation between the two former foes. (AP Photo/Tran Van Minh.)  (The Associated Press)

Vietnam's defense minister says that questions about human rights violations by his government should have no bearing on whether the U.S. should fully remove its ban on lethal weapons sales to Hanoi.

Defense Minister Phung Quang Thanh spoke after meetings here with U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter. Carter says U.S. officials routinely have very candid discussions on political and internal issues with Vietnamese leaders, and said those issues intersect with security matters.

Last October the U.S. partially lifted its ban on weapons sales to Vietnam, allowing only the sale of lethal maritime security and surveillance capabilities. Vietnam wants the ban fully lifted.

Carter says the two countries are working to do military operations together and the U.S. will help Vietnam prepare to begin participating in U.N. peacekeeping missions.