U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, right, and Vietnamese Chief of General Staff of the Army, Lt. Gen. Do Ba Ty, left, review an honor guard before their talks in Hanoi, Vietnam on Thursday. Pic: AP.

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, held talks with Vietnamese officials Thursday aimed to boosting military ties between the former foes.

Speaking to his Vietnamese counterpart Lt. Gen. Do Ba Ty before the closed-door talks, Dempsey described his visit, the first to communist Vietnam by a American chairman of the joint chiefs of staff since 1971 when the Vietnam War was on, as “one of the highlights” of his military career.

The sides will work to boost their military cooperation, with a focus on maritime security, training, and overcoming the consequences of the war, a Vietnamese Ministry of Defense statement said.

The U.S. has indicated that it may partially lift a ban on the sale of lethal arms to Vietnam as early as next month.