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Agent Orange cleanup begins in Vietnam

The $43 million Agent Orange cleanup begins in Vietnam as US forges closer ties with the nation amid the growing dispute with China over South China Sea.

Monsanto agent orange 2012 02 07Enlarge
BA VI, VIETNAM: Handicapped orphans are fed by the medical staff at the Ba Vi orphanage. These young children represent the 3rd generation of Agent Orange victims more than 30 years after the war in Vietnam, where a battle is still being fought to help people suffering from the effects of the deadly chemical. (Paula Bronstein/AFP/Getty Images)

For the first time, the US is working with Vietnam to help clean up Agent Orange in the country, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Agent Orange, a defoliant used by the US military during the war in Vietnam, has been linked to birth defects and cancer. The cleanup is expected to take about four years, according to the Times.

The historic $43 million joint project with Vietnam comes as the US forges closer ties with the nation amid a growing dispute with China over the South China Sea, the Associated Press reported.

More from GlobalPost: Agent Orange maker Monsanto's return to Vietnam

The AP wrote the United States still disputes that between 3 million to 4 million Vietnamese were affected by toxic chemicals sprayed by US planes during the Vietnam War. The US says the number was lower and that other issues are to blame for health effects suffered since.

But many Vietnamese see a double standard, because the US government has given billions of dollars to Vietnam veterans who developed illnesses associated with the dioxin.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/vietnam/120808/agent-orange-cleanup-begins-vietnam