I fell for pho in Saigon in 1974, when I was 5 years old. When my family came to America in 1975, my mom satisfied our family's cravings for the aromatic beef noodle soup with homemade batches, served on Sundays after morning Mass. As Vietnamese expatriates, we savored pho as a very special food, a gateway to our cultural roots. When we didn't have pho at home, we went out for it in Orange County, California's Little Saigon, patronizing mom-and-pop shops that welcomed us with the perfume of pho broth.

When President Obama lifted the ban on U.S. weapons sales to Vietnam, he invoked one of his favorite themes — relics of the Cold War.

"This change will ensure that Vietnam has access to the equipment it needs to defend itself and removes a lingering vestige of the Cold War," Obama said Monday in the capital, Hanoi.

He sounded a lot like the president who made a groundbreaking visit to Cuba in March:

President Obama announced Monday that the U.S. is fully lifting a five-decades-long arms embargo against Vietnam.

The embargo on lethal military equipment had been partially lifted in 2014; now it will be raised fully, the White House says. The president spoke about the decision from Hanoi, during the first day of a weeklong trip to Asia.

The dispute over the South China Sea, one of the most complicated geopolitical issues of the 21st century, keeps heating up. China, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and other regional governments are all part of the dispute — along with the United States.

Here are four key things to know about the dispute.

1. What's At Stake

The South China Sea holds immense resources, from the oil and gas located underneath the seabed to the lucrative fishing it has afforded for generations.

Financial commentator Greg Heberlein has just returned from a vacation in Vietnam and Cambodia. While there, he couldn't help but notice how westernized the Southeast Asian economy is becoming.