Barack Obama has backed Vietnam in its dispute with China over territorial claims and navigation rights in the South China Sea. Though Obama, who is wrapping up his visit to Vietnam, did not name China directly, he said “big nations should not bully smaller ones”. Obama’s comments came a day after the US lifted a decades-old arms embargo on Vietnam, a move widely interpreted as a rebuke to China which has been constructing military installations, including runways and missile launchers, on reclaimed islands. Obama promised his hosts “greater access to the equipment you need to improve your security”.
Obama has deals in place to send approximately two dozen longtime Guantánamo detainees to about half a dozen countries, the Guardian has learned. The president is looking to reduce the number of detainees held at the Cuban prison camp by 22 or 23 by repatriating them to half a dozen different countries. The plan will likely be implemented by the end of July. There are currently 80 men detained at Guantánamo, the lowest number since the controversial prison was opened in 2002. Transfers through quasi-parole hearings, known as Periodic Review Boards, have picked up pace this year. One of those set for a June 2 hearing is Mohamedou Ould Slahi, whose brutal experience at Guantánamo was the centerpiece of a bestselling memoir.