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Author Topic: Battle of Long Tan Commemoration Cancelled in Vietnam  (Read 404 times)


  • Mentat
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Battle of Long Tan Commemoration Cancelled in Vietnam
« on: August 17, 2016, 08:40:22 PM »

A commemoration for the 50th anniversary of the battle of Long Tan in Vietnam has been cancelled, despite 1000 veterans already being in the country.
The Vietnamese government's decision to ban the 50th anniversary commemoration for the battle of Long Tan at the last minute is a "kick in the guts" and not the act of a friend, Veterans Affairs Minister Dan Tehan says.
There are now concerns about 1000 veterans who have travelled to Vietnam will be "shattered" after planning and paying for their trips.
The federal government is deeply disappointed and is representations at what it says is the highest level to have the ban of Thursday's Veterans Day at the Long Tan cross site overturned.
Mr Tehan said the government was advised of the decision late on Tuesday without warning.
"For us to be given such short notice of the cancellation is, to put it in very frank terms, a kick in the guts," Mr Tehan told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.
"I don't think this is the way that you should treat a friend."
The Vietnamese government cited concerns about "deep sensitivities" over the battle and the impact the commemorations could have on the local community.
It comes after about 18 months of cooperation between the two countries to organise the event.
Mr Tehan insists the Australian government was aware of the sensitivities and had planned a "low-key" ceremony.
Memorial events have been held at Long Tan since 1989.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was trying to speak with his Vietnamese counterpart on Wednesday.
"My real hope is that we will see a change of heart by the Vietnamese government," Mr Tehan said.
"One of the bitterly, bitterly disappointing things about what has occurred is the fact that this decision has taken place with such short notice."
Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia president Ken Foster said veterans would be devastated.
"To be told at the last minute to sit in their hotel or sit in a bar because they can't go where they want to go - they'll be shattered," he told reporters in Canberra.
The Department of Foreign Affairs understands private access to the site will still be permitted.
An official party including the Australian and New Zealand ambassadors will still lay a wreath at the cross site on Thursday.
Mr Tehan said the government's assessment was that the decision was based on sensitivities relating to the battle of Long Tan and not any other aspect of Vietnam-Australia relations.
Commemorations will go ahead in Australian on Wednesday evening - including at an event at Parliament House in Canberra - and on Thursday.
The federal opposition has backed the Australian government.
"The cancellation of the service, at such short notice, is shocking and deeply upsetting for the veterans and families from both countries who have travelled to commemorate this important event," Labor said in a statement on Wednesday.
I kind of understand the Vietnamese, but jeez I feel bad for the Aussie veterans that fought in Vietnam. They just don't get the same recognition the men in the  two WW's got.
But why would the Vietnamese be happy for Aussies to celebrate a battle against their own people?
Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.


  • Sage
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Re: Battle of Long Tan Commemoration Cancelled in Vietnam
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2016, 12:37:21 PM »

Cancelling at short notice is probably revenge. Stupid decision and will cause division in diplomatic relations
I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant


  • Sage
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Re: Battle of Long Tan Commemoration Cancelled in Vietnam
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2016, 04:00:25 PM »

The short notice was a crappy thing but if the reasons really were for consideration of the local communities then good on the Vietnamese Govt. But really poor form to give such short notice. They should have either provided notification earlier or said "we'll go ahead with it this time, but this is the last one".
"Some people go their whole lives without ever really living for a minute."
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