Americans finally raised the Stars and Stripes outside the new U.S. liaison office Wednesday, 40 years after the flag last flew over a diplomatic building in this oncehostile capital.
The flag flapped in full view against the dark glass of the liaison office that opened 12 days ago on a busy Hanoi street. An American diplomat said the flagraising was delayed while the office was readied for business.
The last American diplomatic office in Hanoi, a consulate, closed in 1955 after Washington refused to recognize the Communist government of Ho Chi Minh, which had taken power from French colonizers the previous year.
The liaison office, where 11 diplomats will be stationed, is a likely transitional step toward full diplomatic relations. But President Clinton has said Vietnam must do more to help solve the cases of the 2,211 U.S. servicemen unaccounted for from the war in Indochina before the United States agrees to set up embassies. That figure includes 1,621 Americans listed as missing in Vietnam.