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Continued: Vietnam military mastermind Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, who defeated French and Americans, dies, 102

  • Article by: CHRIS BRUMMITT , Associated Press
  • Last update: October 4, 2013 - 7:15 PM

At age 97, Giap took a high-profile role in a debate over the proposed expansion of a bauxite mine that he said posed environmental and security risks, in part because it was to be operated by a Chinese company in the restive Central Highlands. He also protested the demolition of Hanoi's historic parliament house, Ba Dinh Hall. Both projects, however, went ahead as planned.

Giap celebrated his 100th birthday in 2011. He was too weak and ill to speak, but he signed a card thanking his "comrades" for their well-wishes. Even then, he continued to be briefed every few days about international and national events.

Late in life, Giap encouraged warmer relations between Vietnam and the U.S., which re-established ties in 1995 and have become close trading partners. Vietnam has also recently looked to the U.S. military as a way to balance China's growing power in the disputed South China Sea.

"We can put the past behind," Giap said in 2000. "But we cannot completely forget it."

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