USA carrier arrives in Vietnam for first time since war

06 March, 2018, 01:59 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • The USS Carl Vinson, the U.S. Navy's nuclear-powered Nimitz-class aircraft carrier anchored off the coast in Danang Vietnam on Monday

"Vietnam has been deeply concerned about China's pugilistic and aggressive moves in the South China Sea", said John Kirby, a retired US Navy rear admiral and CNN military and diplomatic analyst.

For the first time since the end of the Vietnam War, a U.S. aircraft carrier made a port call in Vietnam on Monday, signaling how China's rise is bringing together former foes in a significant shift in the regions geopolitical landscape, the media reported.

Talks over the port call first took place after the USS Carl Vinson hosted Vietnam's Deputy Minister of Defence Nguyen Chi Vinh off southern California last October - making him the country's highest-ranking official to tour a USA carrier.

The three American ships with about 6,500 sailors and Marines aboard are conducting a port visit that demonstrates how far U.S. "Also, we'd like to thank Vietnam for the excellent logistical support that makes this visit possible". Vietnam challenges China's territorial claims in the sea, where Beijing has built up and militarized artificial islands that its neighbors depend on for fishing and commerce. The vessel can carry up to 90 on-deck aircraft.

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Recently, Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Pham Quang Vinh also visited the USS George H.W.Bush aircraft carrier (CVN-77) during an official visit to Norfolk city in the US state of Virginia from February 21-22.

Vietnam remains the most vocal claimant in the South China Sea dispute as the Philippines has backed off under China-friendly President Rodrigo Duterte.

Capt. Pham Van Thanh 46 is hopeful that the U.S. carrier visit leads to increased patrols in the South China Sea — or the East Sea as the Vietnamese call
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Vietnamese leaders agreed to the four-day port call during President Donald J. Trump's visit to the country past year.

That the US has sent its "epitome of modern naval power" to the area delivers a message to China, wrote Carl Thayer, professor of politics at the Australian Defence Force Academy, wrote in a policy briefing. The war killed 58,000 Americans and more than 3 million Vietnamese.

The former Coast Guard cutter Morgenthau was transferred to Vietnam past year, becoming the largest ship in the nation's fleet.

Servicemembers will participate in cultural and professional exchanges during community service projects, sports competitions and receptions, a Navy statement said.

Vice Admiral Philip G. Sawyer, commander of USA 7th Fleet in the Pacific, said he hoped the relationship between the two nations will increase in the future.

The two sides also reaffirmed their determination and efforts to further cooperate in maintaining peace, stability and development in the Indo-Pacific region, where China is at loggerheads with Vietnam, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines. Some Vietnamese officials are concerned that China could respond to the USA visit by maintaining its own presence in Vietnamese waters. In May 2017, Vietnam hosted a Japanese helicopter carrier in Cam Ranh Bay for what was called a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief drill. Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei also have claims.


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