US Senator John McCain (centre) in his past visit to Cam Ranh port in the central province of Khanh Hoa (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan on August 27 sent messages of condolences to the family of US Senator John McCain and leaders of the US Senate over the death of the senator.

On the same day, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh cabled condolences to the family of John McCain and signed in the condolence book in commemoration of the senator at the US Embassy in Vietnam.

On the same day, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang, while answering reporters’ questions on the passing away of US Senator John McCain, said Vietnam would like to extend the deepest sympathy to the family of the senator and the US Congress.

McCain was an outstanding representative for the generation of US parliamentarians and veterans from the war in Vietnam. He was a pioneer who made great contributions to healing the wounds of the war, normalising Vietnam-US relations and setting up the comprehensive partnership between the two nations.

“We treasure efforts made by McCain in building and developing the Vietnam-US relations over the past decades,” she stressed.

Senator John McCain passed away on August 25 (US time) at the age of 81.

McCain himself served in the invading war of the US in Vietnam. He joined in the Rolling Thunder air campaign in 1967, bombing targets in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (northern Vietnam). His plane was shot down on October 26, 1967 and McCain was taken prisoner. He was returned to the US in an exchange of prisoners in 1973.

Returning from Vietnam, McCain joined politics and was one of the first persons campaigning for normalisation of US-Vietnam relations through promoting humanitarian issues such as removing unexploded ordnance left by the war, searching for missing-in-action personnel, supporting people with disabilities caused by the war, and detoxifying areas polluted by dioxin.

In 1994, the US Senate approved a resolution sponsored by McCain and Senator John Kerry, calling to end the economic sanction against Vietnam, paving the way for the normalisation of relations between the two countries one year later.

Following the normalisation of bilateral ties, McCain and Kerry visited Vietnam many times to address the issue of American missing-in-action soldiers (POW/MIA).

Along with pushing for the normalisation of relations with Vietnam, Senator McCain also supported the Vietnamese community in the US, serving as a bridge between them and the US authorities as well as the Vietnamese Government.-VNA