United States warship makes historic Vietnam visit
07 March, 2018, 00:11 | Author: Constance French
The Vietnamese port was also the site of the first arrival of USA combat troops, when Marines landed there in 1965.
The carrier, along with two other ships from its strike group deployed to the region, initiated a port call in Da Nang on Monday, according to the U.S. Navy.
A USA aircraft carrier arrived in Vietnam on Monday for the first time since the end of the war, as the former foes bolster military ties in the face of Beijing's build-up in the disputed South China Sea.
China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, including reefs and islands also claimed by other nations.
Sailors are expected to participate in cultural and professional exchanges during community service projects and receptions.
Vice Admiral Phillip G. Sawyer (right), Commander of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet, greets Vietnamese officials after the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson pulled into port in Danang on March 5, 2018.
In recent years, the United States and Vietnam have worked to improve relations that were normalized in 1995.
The US has always said it does not take sides in the South China Sea dispute, but the US Navy has consistently run so-called "freedom of navigation" operations through disputed waters, a clear challenge to China's territorial ambitions. "They demonstrate our commitment to regional prosperity and stability", he said. The war killed 58,000 Americans and more than 3 million Vietnamese. The first port visit to Vietnam following the war was by the cruiser USS Vandergrift in November 2003, which docked at Ho Chi Minh City on the Saigon River.
Although no US aircraft carrier has been to Vietnam since the end of the war, other, smaller USA warships have made high-level visits as ties improved in recent years.
In October 2016, two USA ships - the submarine tender USS Frank Cable and destroyer USS John S. McCain - also visited Cam Ranh Bay. Last year, Vietnam deployed six submarines purchased from Russian Federation to Cam Ranh Bay, but it can not oppose Beijing alone.
But analysts say it inevitably sends a message to China as it continues to develop the disputed South China Sea.
Vietnam is perhaps the only stakeholder still taking a strong stance against Chinese aggression in the South China Sea, now that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has largely folded his cards.
In response to China's rapid militarization of artificially created islands, Vietnam has embarked on limited reclamation activities of its own, accompanied by deployment of weapons systems, including precision-guided artilleries, to some of its islands in the Spratlys.
"The United States is here to maintain rules, laws and norms, and we'll do that in South China Sea".
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