"After communist North Vietnam's victory over U.S.-backed South Vietnam in 1975, U.S.-Vietnam relations remained essentially frozen for over 15 years. Since then, bilateral ties have expanded remarkably, to the point where the relationship in many ways has been virtually normalized. Congress has played a significant role in this process. Each step in improving bilateral ties has brought controversy, albeit at diminishing levels. U.S. opponents in Congress and elsewhere have argued that Vietnam maintains a poor record on human and religious rights, particularly in the Central Highlands region. Opposition has also come from groups arguing that Vietnam has not done enough to account for U.S. Prisoners of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIAs) from the Vietnam War, though this argument has diminished markedly in recent years. Forces favoring normalization have included those reflecting a strong U.S. business interest in Vietnam's reforming economy and American strategic interests in integrating Vietnam more fully into East Asia and in expanding cooperation with a country that has an ambivalent relationship with China."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB98033