Pacific

Australia says Vietnam cancels commemoration of 1966 battle

  • Australian veteran Jeffrey Morris shows a photo of himself taken when he served in Long Tan during the Vietnam war in Vung Tau city, Vietnam on Wednesday, 17 August 2016. Australia is making top-level appeals to Vietnam on Wednesday to lift a sudden ban on veterans commemorating the 50th anniversary of Australia's most costly battle of the Vietnam War.(AP Photo/Hau Dinh)

    Australian veteran Jeffrey Morris shows a photo of himself taken when he served in Long Tan during the Vietnam war in Vung Tau city, Vietnam on Wednesday, 17 August 2016. Australia is making top-level appeals to Vietnam on Wednesday to lift a sudden ban on veterans commemorating the 50th anniversary of Australia's most costly battle of the Vietnam War.(AP Photo/Hau Dinh)  (The Associated Press)

  • Australian veteran Jeffrey Morris shows a photo of himself taken when he served in Long Tan during the Vietnam war in Vung Tau city, Vietnam on Wednesday, Aug 17, 2016. Australia is making top-level appeals to Vietnam on Wednesday to lift a sudden ban on veterans commemorating the 50th anniversary of Australia's most costly battle of the Vietnam War.(AP Photo/Hau Dinh)

    Australian veteran Jeffrey Morris shows a photo of himself taken when he served in Long Tan during the Vietnam war in Vung Tau city, Vietnam on Wednesday, Aug 17, 2016. Australia is making top-level appeals to Vietnam on Wednesday to lift a sudden ban on veterans commemorating the 50th anniversary of Australia's most costly battle of the Vietnam War.(AP Photo/Hau Dinh)  (The Associated Press)

  • Australian veteran Ernie Gimm, right, talks with friends at a bar in Vung Tau city, Vietnam on Wednesday, 17 August 2016. Australia is making top-level appeals to Vietnam on Wednesday to lift a sudden ban on veterans commemorating the 50th anniversary of Australia's most costly battle of the Vietnam War.(AP Photo/Hau Dinh)

    Australian veteran Ernie Gimm, right, talks with friends at a bar in Vung Tau city, Vietnam on Wednesday, 17 August 2016. Australia is making top-level appeals to Vietnam on Wednesday to lift a sudden ban on veterans commemorating the 50th anniversary of Australia's most costly battle of the Vietnam War.(AP Photo/Hau Dinh)  (The Associated Press)

Australia's foreign minister says Vietnam has withdrawn permission for a ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Australians' most costly battle of the Vietnam War.

More than 1,000 Australian veterans and their families have traveled to Vietnam to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan at a cross marking the site where 18 Australian soldiers and hundreds of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops died on Aug. 18, 1966.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Wednesday that the Vietnamese government had advised it will not permit the afternoon ceremony to proceed.

She says an official party including the Australian and New Zealand ambassadors will lay a wreath Thursday and small groups will have access to the site on the day.

The anniversary has become Australia's official Vietnam Veterans Day.