HANOI - Vietnam would welcome the United States "accelerating" the lifting of a lethal arms embargo, which would reflect trust between the two countries and recognition of its needs to defend itself, its foreign ministry said on Thursday.
Vietnam's comments on a topic that has long been a source of friction with the United States comes just over a week ahead of a visit by President Barack Obama, and amid debate in Washington over whether to remove the ban, which was eased in late 2014.
The arms embargo is one of the last major vestiges of the Vietnam War era. The United States has not indicated publicly it would remove the embargo and has long said such a move would depend on Vietnam showing progress on human rights.
"We welcome the United States' acceleration to fully lift the lethal arms sales ban on Vietnam," the ministry said in response to Reuters questions.