[Update] Vietnam on Bloomberg, Reuters, WSJ

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[Update] Vietnam on Bloomberg, Reuters, WSJ, Economist

Vietnam banks to boost lending to spur growth-PM

HANOI | Mon May 28, 2012 2:45am BST

May 28 (Reuters) - Vietnamese banks sitting on a funds surplus should step up lending to the agricultural and export sectors as well as part of the real estate market, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said, after inflation this month eased to single digit.

Despite a funds surplus, the banking system recorded negative lending growth in the first five months of this year so banks must boost lending to certain areas, Dung was quoted saying by state-run Voice of Vietnam radio in a Monday broadcast.

Vietnam's inflation rate has fallen below 10 percent for the first time since October 2010, with prices in May rising 8.34 percent from a year earlier after an annual growth of 10.54 percent in April.
(Reporting by Ho Binh Minh; Editing by Michael Urquhart)

---------- Post added 28-05-2012 at 10:14 AM ----------

UPDATE 1-Vietnam banks should boost lending to spur growth-PM

* Agriculture, exports, low-cost housing need support-PM

* Government shifting priorities to focus on growth-analysts

* Q1 GDP growth at 4 percent is lowest in three years (Adds details)

HANOI, May 28 (Reuters) - Vietnamese banks with surplus funds should step up lending to the agricultural and export sectors and part of the real estate market, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said, after inflation this month eased to single-digit levels.

Despite a funds surplus, the banking system recorded negative lending growth in the first five months of this year so banks must boost lending to certain areas, Dung was quoted as saying by state-run Voice of Vietnam radio in a Monday broadcast.

The government has shifted its priorities to stimulating expansion after the country's gross domestic product grew 4 percent in the first quarter, the lowest in three years, analysts said.

Earlier this year, Hanoi tightened bank loans in a bid to control its rate of inflation, which was one of the highest in Asia last year, and that has curbed growth, analysts said.

Vietnam's inflation rate has fallen below 10 percent for the first time since October 2010, with prices in May rising 8.34 percent from a year earlier after an annual growth rate of 10.54 percent in April.

Fresh loans should go to help farmers and to the export sector, which has recorded strong growth so far this year, Dung was quoted by the radio broadcast as telling a cabinet meeting on Sunday.

Exports in the first five months of 2012 jumped 24 percent from a year ago to $42.86 billion, helping narrow the trade deficit so far this year by 90 percent to $622 million

Loans should also go to construct low-cost houses, he said.

Vietnam still aims to keep annual inflation this year at 7-8 percent and strive for growth of around 6 percent, the government said in a statement issued after the cabinet meeting, compared with its earlier growth target of 6.0 to 6.5 percent.

Money supply (M2) at the end of May rose an estimated 4.47 percent from the end of 2011 and deposits grew 5.42 percent in the period, the government said, without giving any values nor the credit growth rate.

In May 2011 money supply edged up just 1.57 percent, deposits increased 1.4 percent while loans expanded 6.92 percent from the end of 2010, based on government data.

As of Monday the central bank has cut three key policy rates by 1 percentage point for the third time since March in a bid to ease business difficulties after economic growth fell to a three-year low in the first quarter.

(Reporting by Ho Binh Minh; Editing by Matt Driskill)
 
Chỉnh sửa lần cuối bởi người điều hành:
May 28

PRESS DIGEST - Vietnam newspapers - May 28

HANOI | Mon May 28, 2012 3:42am BST

May 28 (Reuters) - These are some of the leading stories in the official Vietnamese press on Monday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

FINANCIAL NEWS:

LAO DONG

- The Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange has approved Tan Tao Investment and Industry Corp's request to list 102.6 million new shares on May 29, an exchange representative said.

DAU TU

- It is feasible to cut the interest rates on dong deposits to 10 percent and lending rates to 13 percent, said Chairman Pham Huy Hung of Hanoi-based VietinBank, as the central bank cut key interest rates as of Monday.

ECONOMIC AND GENERAL NEWS:

VIETNAM NEWS

- The government has asked ministers and heads of provincial authorities to collect opinions from enterprises on support policies for businesses.

LAO DONG

- Vietnam's government has agreed not to revise the targets set for this year and would proactively curb annual inflation at 7 to 8 percent, said Vu Duc Dam, head of the government office. The government would also maintain economic growth at around 6 percent.

THOI BAO KINH TE VIETNAM

- Vietnam's agricultural, forestry and fishery product exports between January and May rose 10.1 percent from a year earlier to an estimated $10.9 billion, the Agriculture Ministry said.

- Disbursement of official development assistance in Vietnam reached $530 million in the first five months of this year, or 25 percent of the annual disbursement target, the Planning and Investment Ministry said.

(Reporting by Hanoi Newsroom; Editing by Anand Basu)
 
Vietnam c.bank cuts repo rate to 11 percent

HANOI | Mon May 28, 2012 5:01am BST

May 28 (Reuters) - Vietnam's central bank reduced the reserve repurchase rate used in open market operations (OMO) to 11 percent from 12 percent on Monday, following cuts announced last week in other key policy rates to stimulate the economy.

The new rate, part of the OMO transaction data provided by the State Bank of Vietnam, is still far above the interbank dong lending rates, which range between 1.5 percent and 4.5 percent, Reuters data show..

(Reporting by Ngo Thi Ngoc Chau; Editing by Ho Binh Minh; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)
 
Vietnam’s Stocks: Thanh Cong Textile, Hai Van Cement

By Bloomberg News - May 28, 2012 12:09 PM GMT+0700

Shares of the following companies had unusual moves in Vietnam trading. Stock symbols are in parentheses and prices are as of the 11:30 a.m. break in Ho Chi Minh City. The VN Index (VNINDEX), the benchmark measure of the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange, dropped 0.2 percent to 436.64.

Thanh Cong Textile Garment Joint-Stock Co. (TCM) , which manufactures and markets textiles and garments, rose 4 percent to 10,300 dong, heading for the highest close since May 22. The company will pay a dividend of 800 dong a share on June 14, it said in a statement on the bourse’s website.

Hai Van Cement Joint-Stock Co. (HVX) , a producer and trader of building materials, fell 3.5 percent to 5,900 dong. Vietnam may have cement surplus of 6 million metric tons this year, Thoi Bao Kinh Te Vietnam newspaper reported without saying where it obtained the information.

Vietnam may produce 60 million to 62 million tons of the building material this year while domestic demand is forecast at 47 million to 48 million tons, according to the report. Cement exports is forecast at 7 million to 8 million tons in 2012, according to the report.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Nguyen Kieu Giang in Hanoi at giang1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Darren Boey at dboey@bloomberg.net
 
Vietnam’s One-Year Bond Yields Drop to Lowest in a Week on Rates

By Bloomberg News - May 28, 2012 2:45 PM GMT+0700

Vietnam’s one-year government bonds rose, driving yields to a one-week low, after the central bank cut interest rates for the third straight month to bolster economic growth. The dong gained.

The State Bank of Vietnam lowered its refinancing rate to 12 percent from 13 percent with effect from today, according to a May 25 statement on its website. It reduced the so-called repurchase and discount rates by one percentage point to 11 percent and 10 percent, respectively. The inflation rate dropped to a 21-month low of 8.34 percent in May.

“Most of the macroeconomic indicators are indicating that Vietnam’s economy is on its way to stabilization, which supports bond-price appreciation,” Le Nguyet Anh, research manager at Ho Chi Minh City-based ACB Securities Co., wrote in a note today. A further easing of inflation next month may allow policy makers to cut rates again, she wrote.

The yield on one-year government notes fell one basis point, or 0.01 percentage point, to 8.84 percent, the lowest level in a week, according to a daily fixing from banks compiled by Bloomberg. The yield on five-year bonds was little changed at 9.68 percent.

The dong rose 0.2 percent to 20,827 per dollar as of 1:45 p.m. in Hanoi, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The central bank fixed the reference rate at 20,828 today, according to its website. The currency is allowed to trade as much as 1 percent on either side of the rate.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Diep Ngoc Pham in Hanoi at dpham5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sandy Hendry at shendry@bloomberg.net
 
Vietnam’s IIP Rises 4.4% MoM in May 2012: MoPI

Vietnam’s May industrial production index (IIP) is estimated to rise 4.4% month on month and up 6.8% year on year, the local news provider Gafin.vn reported, citing figures from the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MoPI).

In Jan-May period, Vietnam’s IIP rose 4.2% on year. In which, mining sector posted a rise of 2.1%; processing industry increased 3.8%; electricity, gas and water production and distribution sector posted 14.3% growth, MoPI added.

This is the lowest growth despite industrial production has been moving in trend of month-on-month higher growth, MoPI said, adding that industrial products still posted high inventory in the period with 29.4% year on year rise. In which, inventory of motor vehicles climbed 56.5%, stock of cement and mortar stock soared by 52%, inventory of motorcycles and motorbikes rose 42.3%, bear inventory increased 29%.

Vietnam’s economy has shown positive signs but it is not really stable and long-term sustainability, Cao Viet Sinh, deputy Minister of MoPI commented, pointing out the country’s macroeconomic figures in Jan-May period such as: official development assistance (ODA) reached $2.1 billion (ODA disbursement was $530 million or 25% year plan); foreign direct investment (FDI) reached$5.32 billion, down 68.2% on year (FDI disbursement was $4.51 billion); state budget collection rose to VND291 trillion, meeting 39.3% year plan and up 3% on year; 30,100 newly set up enterprises with total registration capital of VND190 trillion, year on year fall of 12.2% in quantity and 3.6% in capital.

Source TEI/StoxPlus
 
Vietnam's economic indicators - May 28

Mon May 28, 2012 4:13pm IST

May 28 (Reuters) - Vietnam's economic indicators
.
Mã:
  * Updated         CURRENCY/INTEREST RATES
                         *May 28     May 27, 2011   Dec 29, 2011
 Dollar/dong   20,828       20,653           20,828
 The VN Index      435.48       410.82           350.51
                __________2012_____________ ________2011_______
 DONG          *May 28 May 8 #Apr 11 Mar 13 Oct 10  Oct 1 May 1
 Deposit ceiling  3&11          4&12 5&13.0        6&14.0  14.0
 Base rate                              9.0    9.0          9.0
 Discount rate    10.0          11.0   12.0   13.0         13.0
 Refinance rate   12.0          13.0   14.0   15.0         14.0	
*Lending rate           15.0 	
 NOTE: # 3 pct is for non-term and those shorter than one month.	
 DOLLAR                                      June 1 Apr 13	
 Deposit ceiling                                2.0    3.0	
    
                      GDP, pct, y/y
 2011  2010  2009  2008  2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000
 5.89  6.78  5.38  6.18  8.48 8.17 8.44 7.79 7.34 7.08 6.89 6.79
 ______2012  _______2011________   _______2010________	
         Q1    Q4   Q3   Q2   Q1     Q4   Q3   Q2   Q1
        4.0  6.10 6.07 5.68 5.57   7.34 7.18 6.44 5.84	
     
                      CONSUMER PRICE INDEX, pct
 2011  2010  2009  2008  2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000
18.58  9.19  6.88 22.97   8.3  6.6  8.4  9.5  3.0  4.0  0.8 -0.6
 _______________2012____________  _____________2011_____________	
     *May   Apr   Mar   Feb  Jan   Dec   Nov  Oct  Sep  Aug  Jul
y/y  8.34 10.54 14.15 16.44 17.3  18.1 19.83 21.6 22.4 23.0 22.2	
m/m  0.18  0.05  0.16  1.37  1.0   0.53 0.39  0.4  0.8  0.9  1.2	
NOTE: Annual inflation rates between 2007 and 2011 are average.	
      Those in 2000-2006 were annual rates in December.	
 
                      RETAILS SALES, pct, y/y
 2012  2011  2010  2009  2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001
 20.0  24.2  24.5  18.6  31.0 23.3 20.9 20.5 19.4 18.8 14.5 11.3	
*Jan-May 12  Jan-May 11   Jan-May 10	
       20.8        22.5         26.9
 
                      TRADE ACCOUNT, in billions of dollar
*2012  *2011    2010    2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003
-13.0  -9.84  -12.61  -12.87 -18.0 -14.1 -5.06 -4.31 -5.48 -5.12
 _____________2012_____________ ______________2011______________
     *May *Apr   Mar   Feb  Jan  Dec Nov Oct Sep Aug Jul Jun May	
 EXP 9.1 8.962  9.48  8.30  7.1  8.9 8.8 8.4 7.9 9.2 9.3 8.5 7.2	
 IMP 9.8 8.959  9.05  8.58  6.9  9.6 9.4 9.1 9.4 9.6 8.2 8.6 8.7	
 BAL-0.7+0.003 +0.43 -0.28 +0.2 -0.7-0.6-0.7-1.5-0.4+1.1-0.1-1.5	
 (Figures for the latest month are rounded-up estimates)
 
                      INDUSTRIAL GROWTH, pct, y/y
          2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001
 Target   14.7 14.0  7.6 14.6 17.1 17.0 17.1 16.6 16.8 14.8 14.6
     __________2012__________    _____________2011____________  
 IIP *May  Apr  Mar  Feb  Jan    Dec Nov Oct  Sep Aug Jul June
      6.8  7.5  6.5 22.1 -2.4    7.5 8.1 5.3 12.0 5.8 9.6 12.7	
 Note: IIP: Index of industrial production, used from June 2011.	
 SOURCES: the government, General Statistics Office, c.bank
 
                      FORECASTS/TARGETS
 GDP, pct               2012       2011       2010       2009
 - Government/GSO    6.0-6.5        5.89      6.78       5.38
 - ADB                   5.7        5.9        6.8        5.3
 - IMF                   5.6        5.9        6.8        5.3
 - World Bank           *5.7        5.8        6.8        5.3
 (GDP rose 7 percent anually in 2006-2010, vs. the average 7.51 
 percent in 2001-2005. The government's annual growth target is
6.5-7 percent for 2011-2015)
 
 CPI, pct               2012       2011       2010       2009
 - Government/GSO        9.0       18.58       9.19       6.88
 - ADB                   9.5       18.6        9.2        6.9
 - IMF                  12.6       18.7        9.2        6.7
 - World Bank           *9.5      *18.1       11.8        6.5
 (Data from GSO, ADB and IMF are the average rates)
 
 MONEY AND CREDIT       2012       2011       2010       2009
 MONEY SUPPLY (M2) pct 14-16       12.37      23.0       28.67
 - IMF                  19.8       20.3       33.3       29.0
 - Change vs Dec '11    *May  Apr  Mar  Feb  Jan
                        4.47 1.55 1.06 3.05 0.74
 CREDIT, pct
 - C.bank/Govt       15-17.0       14.41      27.65      37.73
 - IMF                  15.1       19.2       32.4       39.6
 - Change vs Dec '11    *Apr   Mar   Feb   Jan
                       -0.66 -1.96 -2.51 -0.79
                     Oct 2011  Aug 2011   Dec 2010
 - Value (trln dong)  2,516.2   2,388.9    2,229.0
 DEPOSIT, pct
 - Central bank                    27.2       26.98
 - Change vs Dec '11    *May  Mar    Feb   Jan 
                        5.42 1.39  -0.62 -3.29
 BAD DEBT, pct of loans 2012       2011       2010       2009
 - Govt/c.bank           n/a    3.6-3.8        2.16       2.03
 	
 EXPORT GROWTH, pct     2012       2011       2010       2009
 - Government/GSO       13.0       34.2       25.5       -8.9
 - IMF                             16.9       14.5       -8.9
 - World Bank          *14.0      *34.2       26.4       -8.9
 IMPORT GROWTH, pct
 - Government/GSO                  25.9       20.1      -14.7
 - IMF                             14.3       16.2      -13.3
 - World Bank          *16.0       23.1       21.2      -13.3	
 - MOIT                 14.6
 TRADE DEFICIT, in billions of dollar
 - Government           13.0       *9.84      12.6       12.87
 - World Bank           *2.2       *0.5       *5.1        8.31	
 (MOIT: the Ministry of Industry and Trade)	
 
 INDUSTRIAL GROWTH, pct 2012       2011       2010       2009
 - Government           13.0        6.8       14.0        7.6
 - World Bank           *7.0       *6.8       *9.3       *7.1
 
 CURRENT ACCOUNT BALANCE/GDP, pct
 - ADB                  -1.5       -4.4       -5.6       -7.7
 - IMF                  -1.6       -0.5       -4.1       -6.6
 - World Bank          *-1.6      *-0.5      *-4.1       -6.6
 
 OVERSEAS REMITTANCES, in billions of dollars
 - Central bank/govt    12.5       10.0        8.4        6.24
 
 FOREIGN CURRENCY RESERVES, in weeks of import
 - Central bank/govt     9.0        7.5       12.0       20.0
 - World Bank                                  1.5        1.9	
 NOTE: Government estimates: for 2012 at the end of March, for
2011 at of the third quarter.	
 FOREIGN CURRENCY RESERVES, in billions of dollar
 - Government/C.bank                                   #16.0
 - ADB        (-gold)   17.0       13.8       12.4      14.1
 - IMF        (-gold)   22.0       14.0       12.4      14.1 
 - World Bank (+gold)                         12.4      14.1	
 - Fitch      (-gold) *16-17
 NOTE: IMF:   as of May 2011 and March 2010; 	
       C.bank: as of Dec. 3, 2009; 	
       Estimates by ADB and Fitch for 2012: as at March 31.
 
 FOREIGN DEBT, in billions of dollar
 - Govt/Fin. Min                   50.0       32.5      36.5
 - World Bank          *55.6      *50.3      *45.4     *38.7
 FOREIGN DEBT/GDP, pct	
 - Govt/Fin. Min                  *41.1       42.2      39.0
 - IMF                                        38.3      39.5
 - World Bank          *41.1      *41.0      *43.8      41.6
 FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT INFLOW, in billions of dollar
 2012  2011  2010  2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001
 11.0  11.0  11.0  10.0 11.5 8.03 3.96 3.31 2.85 2.65 2.59 2.45
  ~ Government target
 MPI ($ bln)        *Jan-May 2012  Jan-May 2011
 New projects           4.12            5.51
 Increased capital      1.20            2.28   
 Disbursement           4.51           4.52   
                      2012   2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005
 MPI       (pledges) 15-16   11.6 17.8 21.5 66.5 20.3 10.2 5.89
 World Bank (inflow)   7.3   *7.3 *7.1  6.9  9.3  6.6  2.4 2.00
 
 FOREIGN PORTFOLIO INVESTMENT, in billions of dollar
 Dec 11  Sept 11  Dec 10  June 10   Dec 09  June 09   Dec 08
    7.0      7.0     6.2      7.0      6.6      5.7      4.6
 
 POPULATION (mlns)
  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004 2003 2002 2001
 87.84  86.9  86.0  86.2  85.2  84.2  83.1  82.0 80.9 79.7 78.7
 URBAN UNEMPLOYMENT, pct	
  3.6   4.29  4.66  4.65  4.64  4.82  5.31  5.60 5.78 6.01 6.28	
     
 LONG-TERM CURRENCY RATINGS
          2012      RATING                             OUTLOOK	
*Fitch    (May 11)  B+  (FC), B+ (LC)                  Stable
          2011      RATING                             OUTLOOK	
 S&P      (Aug 19)  BB- (FC), BB-(LC)                  Negative
          2010      RATING                             OUTLOOK
 Moody's  (Dec 15)  B1  (FC, dong bonds)               Negative 
 Moody's  (Dec 15)  B2  (FC deposit ceiling)           Negative 
 Moody's  (Dec 15)  Ba2 (LC bond, deposit ceiling)     Negative 
    NOTE: FC: foreign currency; LC: local currency.	
    To access the following, click on the codes in brackets:
 COUNTRY   OVERVIEW    EQUITY       FIXED INCOME  MONEY FX  NEWS
 Vietnam            	
	
 (Compiled by Ho Binh Minh)
 
Fresh FDI approvals continue falling

HCMC – New foreign direct investment (FDI) approvals in the country has totaled US$5.33 billion in the year to date, down 31.8% year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

The country has attracted 283 new FDI projects with total registered capital of US$4.12 billion, equivalent to 74.7% of the figure recorded in the same period last year. Some 82 existing FDI projects have added US$1.2 billion to their capital.
view-downtown-hcmc-frozen-property-market-fdi-infl-ow-realty-sect-375504.jpg

A view of downtown HCMC. Despite the frozen property market, FDI infl ow into the realty sector remains high, only after the manufacturing sector - Photo: Quoc Hung


The manufacturing sector has taken the lead in FDI attraction with total investment capital of more than US$3.3 billion, followed by the realty sector with US$1.57 billion pledged.

Despite the shrinking new approvals, FDI disbursements have remained stable. In particular, January-May saw US$4.5 billion FDI disbursed, almost the same as in the same period last year.

Japan has so far become the country’s biggest investor with 104 projects worth US$3.7 billion, followed by British Virgin Islands, Hong Kong and South Korea.

Binh Duong Province is now the country’s most attractive destination for foreign investors. In the year to date, it has lured 33 new projects with combined capital of US$1.6 billion.

Binh Duong is followed by Hai Phong, Dong Nai, HCMC and Quang Ninh.
 

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Obama calls treatment of Vietnam War veterans "a disgrace"

WASHINGTON | Mon May 28, 2012 6:18pm EDT

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama called the treatment decades ago of returning Vietnam War veterans a "national shame" on Monday and promised as commander-in-chief not to send U.S. troops back into harm's way without a clear mission and strategy.

Obama did not mention rising tensions with Iran and Syria or other potential threats in his remarks to veterans and military families on a hot, sunny Memorial Day, focusing instead on the legacy of Vietnam and his own efforts to wind down the Iraq and Afghanistan wars started by his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Many of those who survived brutal fights in the Southeast Asian jungle faced derision when they got home in the 1960s and 1970s as a result of public opposition to that Cold War battle.

Some 58,000 Americans died in the Vietnam War, compared to 4,000 who were killed in Iraq and nearly 2,000 who have been killed so far in Afghanistan.

"You were often blamed for a war you didn't start, when you should have been commended for serving your country with valor," Obama told a crowd gathered at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, which lists names of those who died in the conflict.

"You came home and sometimes were denigrated, when you should have been celebrated. It was a national shame, a disgrace that should have never happened. And that's why here today we resolve that it will not happen again," he said to applause.

The president noted that many Vietnam War veterans have gone to airports to personally greet soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, many of whom joined the military in response to the September 11, 2001, attacks that triggered the now-unpopular wars.

"Across America, communities have welcomed home our forces from Iraq, and when our troops return from Afghanistan, America will give this entire 9/11 generation the welcome home they deserve. That happened in part because of you," he said.

Obama asked all of the veterans in the crowd to rise to be recognized. "Welcome home. Welcome home. Welcome home," he said.

Veterans and family members wiped tears and sweat from their faces during the ceremony, which ended with a fly-over by Vietnam-era aircraft including a B-52 "bom ber".

John Hoffmann, 67, of Springfield, Virginia, served a year in Vietnam from 1970-1971. In a conversation with a reporter, he stopped abruptly to salute when the U.S. national anthem was played.

"We virtually came back to a thankless country," he said, his voice breaking. "So I'm ... grateful for this day that we get the recognition that we duly deserved so many years ago."

HARD LESSONS

Obama's 2008 election campaign centered on his promise to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and as president he has focused heavily on improving the care and welfare of veterans, including those suffering from post-traumatic stress and other disorders that were undiagnosed at the time of the Vietnam War.

Without speaking explicitly about the Bush era, when critics said U.S. troops were sent into conflict ill-equipped and with unclear goals, Obama attributed many of the initiatives he has put into place to "the true legacy of Vietnam."

"Because of the hard lessons of Vietnam, because of you, America is stronger than before," he said.

"When America sends our sons and daughters into harm's way, we will always give them a clear mission, we will always give them a sound strategy, we will give them the equipment they need to get the job done," he said.

"We will resolve that leaders will be candid about the risks and about progress, and have a plan to bring our troops home with honor," Obama said.

Earlier on Monday, at the Arlington National Cemetery, Obama described "the light of a new day on the horizon" with overseas conflicts abating. He drew applause when he noted it was the first Memorial Day in nine years without Americans fighting and dying in Iraq.

"As commander in chief, I can tell you that sending our troops into harm's way is the most wrenching decision that I have to make," Obama said shortly after laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

"I can promise you I will never do so unless it's absolutely necessary, and that when we do, we must give our troops a clear mission and the full support of a grateful nation."

(Editing by Todd Eastham)
 

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