The Vietnamese government payed its respects to the late US Senator John McCain, praising him as “a symbol of his generation” who helped improve relations between Washington and Hanoi in the wake of the Vietnam War.
"For both the government of Vietnam and its people, Senator McCain was a symbol of his generation of senators, and of the veterans of the Vietnam war," Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh wrote in a condolence book at the US Embassy in Hanoi, adding that McCain "took the lead in significantly healing the wounds of war, and normalizing and promoting the comprehensive Vietnam-US partnership."
"Condolences to senator and war veteran John McCain, who greatly contributed to the normalization of Vietnam-US relations," said one message in Vietnamese left at the monument, as quoted by Reuters.
A number of Twitter users were apparently perplexed by this development, some of them reminiscing about McCain allegedly cooperating with his Vietnamese captors, or were puzzled by the reaction of the people whom McCain helped bomb.
The same guy who unapologetically called his wartime captors, "gooks"? He had every right to hate his captors but was he really reconciliatory?— Fivestarmichael (@fivestarmichael) 27 августа 2018 г.
Thank you “songbird”— GI Joe 🔱🇺🇸 (@UncleSam2k17) 27 августа 2018 г.
He was bombing civilians in Vietnam when he was captured there— ex-Presidon't War (@POTUUS) 27 августа 2018 г.
McCain true story will embarass all who sing his praises. He will go down in history in a bad way.— Jean of Tours ❌ ☨ ⚜ ☩ Trust the plan (@JeanRespendial) 27 августа 2018 г.
Paying respects for bombing civilian targets in Vietnam? 😡— Waqar Ahmad (@WaqarAhmad_ad) 27 августа 2018 г.
Others, however, praised Vietnam for this tribute, sometimes also criticizing US President Donald Trump.
When the nation who nearly tortured Sen McCain to death, whom he later made amends with & forgave, has the grace to acknowledge his passing with tributes but the President of this man's own country will not, it shows us what a disgusting excuse of a human being Trump really is.— ☘️ ChuckYou2 🌊 (@chuckyoutwo) 27 августа 2018 г.
If anyone has reason to hate John McCain, it would be Vietnam. Yet, they showed grace and empathy in his death.— riekiedplessis (@riekiedplessis) 27 августа 2018 г.
And then there’s Trump… #JohnMcCainRIP
Wow, this is the feel-good story of the day. Senator McCain was an honorable man and a true patriot and will not be missed here, or apparently Vietnam where he gave so much— Hank Yates (@HYates48) 27 августа 2018 г.
While serving as a naval aviator during the Vietnam War, McCain was shot down during a bombing mission over Hanoi in 1967. Having sustained severe injuries after ejecting from his aircraft, he was captured by Vietnamese forces and spent years at the Hoa Lo prison, also known as the Hanoi Hilton.