US President Barack Obama has announced during his visit to Vietnam that The States intends to lift its arms embargo on the South Asian nation. The arms ban was described by Obama as a “lingering vestige of the Cold War”.

Obama added that the move is part of the long ongoing process of normalizing its relationship with the Vietnam. 41 years ago the US tried and failed to prevent North Vietnam’s communist party from taking over the South.

The move is key in allowing Vietnam to protect itself from the growing presence of China in the region, though Obama maintained that this was not an important part in the decision.

Many human rights activists wanted to see the ban remain in place in order to apply greater pressure on Vietnam to fix its various human rights issues. Obama addressed these concerns by saying that any sales of arms will have to meet “strict requirements”.

The US lifted part of the arms embargo related to maritime equipment in 2014 and non-lethal weapons in 2007.