HANOI - The United States and Vietnam on Thursday began cleaning up the toxic chemical defoliant Agent Orange on part of Danang International Airport, marking the first time Washington has been involved in cleaning up Agent Orange in Vietnam.
The US military sprayed up to 12 million gallons of the defoliant onto Vietnam's jungles over a 10-year period during the Vietnam War, and the question of compensation for the subsequent health problems is a major post-war issue.
Respiratory cancer and birth defects amongst both Vietnamese and US veterans have been linked to exposure to Agent Orange.
The US government is providing $41 million to the project which will reduce the contamination level in 73,000 cubic meters of soil by late 2016, the ruling Vietnam Communist Party's mouthpiece Nhan Dan daily said.
The US Agency for International Development has awarded contracts to two US companies to work on the project along with Vietnam defense ministry officials, the US embassy said.