Danang’s prettiest stretch of sand, known then as China Beach, gave American troops a sun and surf respite from the war, even as the Communist forces closed in.
Today Danang’s beaches once again lure visitors, and a building frenzy of resorts has brought five-star luxury to one of the world’s five remaining Communist nations. Danang’s city planners fought hard to win rights to host the APEC forum, which will see the leaders of 21 economies in attendance, including President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and President Xi Jinping of China.
Signs of the warming relationship between the United States and Vietnam are in evidence down the coast from Danang, where an American aircraft carrier is scheduled to make a port call next year, most likely at Cam Ranh Bay, the naval base once used by the Americans.
“When we fight, we must use everything we have, the ancient jungle and the deep ocean, the rivers and the mountains and our bones and flesh,” said Dao Kim Long, a veteran of the American War who also fought the French as a 14-year-old guerrilla. “But when we shake hands, we can begin a friendship with all our heart.”