HANOI: Vietnam and the United States on Tuesday (Oct 18) launched the second phase of a dioxin clean-up in Danang, where millions of litres of Agent Orange were stored during the war between the former enemies.
The US sprayed the defoliant over large swathes of southern jungle during the Vietnam War to flush out Viet Cong guerrillas, and Vietnamese victims' groups have long blamed the toxic residue for deformities and disease.
Though Washington has disputed the link between dioxin exposure and bad health, the US government has committed to help clean up toxic land.
The countries, whose relations have warmed in recent years, on Tuesday began treating 45,000 cubic metres of soil contaminated with dioxin at Danang Airport, a task expected to be finished by mid-2017.
"I am encouraged by how this project continues to be a symbol of our honesty about the past, dealing with what remains and turning an issue of contention into one of collaboration," US ambassador Ted Osius said at the scene, according to a statement.
The first phase of the clean-up, which also treated 45,000 cubic metres, was completed in May.
"The long-term impact of the project will be the elimination of potential health risks associated with dioxin exposure from the site," the US embassy statement said.