Wednesday, August 19, 2009

US senator visits Vietnam at end of SE Asian tour


HANOI, Vietnam — U.S. Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia is visiting Hanoi on the last leg of a Southeast Asian tour. The highlight of his swing through the region was a stop in Myanmar, where he won the release of an imprisoned American man.

He told reporters Wednesday that he wants to impress upon Americans and Southeast Asian leaders that the region is "vitally important" to the U.S., which can serve as a balance to China's influence there.

Webb helped win the release of John Yettaw, an American convicted in Myanmar for sneaking into detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's compound. He also met with Suu Kyi and the country's military leaders.

Webb served in the Marines during the Vietnam War and chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia.

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