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Christopher Recommends Full Relations With Vietnam

Secretary of State Warren Christopher has recommended to President Clinton that the United States establish formal diplomatic relations with Vietnam, Sen. John McCain said Tuesday.

McCain said he was informed of the decision by State Department officials.

A former Vietnam War POW, the Arizona Republican has urged that the two former enemies normalize relations.

McCain said he and Sen. Bob Kerrey, D-Neb., plan to offer a sense of the Senate resolution approving the step.

He said it probably would be offered in July as part of the State Department authorization bill.

“The White House would need a sense of the Senate resolution to move forward,” said the senator.

Kerrey was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in Vietnam.

More than 50,000 Americans lost their lives in the decade-long war.

The United States withdrew the last of its forces in 1974 and North Vietnam occupied the whole country shortly after.

Improvement of relations between the two countries has hinged on continuing questions about the fate of Americans missing in action or believed held prisoner when the war ended.

As the Vietnamese have become more cooperative in determining the fate of missing Americans, contacts between the two governments have increased.

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