Vietnam officials visit United States aircraft carrier

Posted March 07, 2018

The news was released this weekend announcing that for the first time since the Vietnam War ended, a United States aircraft carrier will be making a scheduled port call in Vietnam on Monday. The Carl Vinson carries over 5,000 sailors, which is the largest contingent of American soldiers to land in Vietnam since USA troops withdrew in 1975.

"Our nations' relationship has reached new heights in the past few years, and USS Carl Vinson's port visit to Vietnam is a reflection of that", Swift said. The visit of American seamen to Vietnam is connected with the military strengthening of the People's Republic of China in the South China Sea.

Though the U.S. is not a claimant to the resource-rich waterway, through which $5 trillion in trade passes annually, it has long lobbied for freedom of navigation there to counter China's growing influence. "Also, we'd like to thank Vietnam for the excellent logistical support that makes this visit possible". In June 2012, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visited the USNS Richard C. Byrd in Cam Ranh Bay - the logistics hub of USA forces during the Vietnam War.

The BBC's Jonathan Head, who is in Danang, says that while co-operation between the USA and Vietnam's military has grown it is still limited, and Vietnam has to manage the messaging of this visit carefully.

It has also sought to join the Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), now resuscitated as TPP-11 (minus the United States), in order to expand its export markets and sources of capital and technology.

It marked the largest American military presence on Vietnamese shores since 1975, signaling the emergence of an unlikely alliance between Washington and the Southeast Asian communist regime. Washington normalized relations with Vietnam in 1995 and lifted an arms embargo in 2016.

A meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang occurred on Saturday, March 3, where the leaders of both countries agreed to three strategic areas for improved cooperation.

One of Trump's first acts in office was withdrawing from the 12-member Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, from which Vietnam stood to gain enormously.

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"I'm very happy and excited with the carrier's visit", he said.

China claims most of the South China Sea and has challenged traditional US naval supremacy in the western Pacific.

USA officials refused to be drawn on the tensions with China on Monday, insisting the trip was a routine deployment to the Western Pacific.

Rear Admiral John Fuller, who is a commander on the Carl Vinson, and whose father fought in Vietnam said "It's a pretty big and historic step since a carrier has not been here for 40 years".

The Carl Vinson is filling in for the Japan-based USS Ronald Reagan, the Navy's only forward-deployed aircraft carrier. But it has made no secret of its desire to build up its naval forces and become much more regionally assertive.

In July 2016, an worldwide court ruled that the so-called "nine-dash line"-a demarcation line China uses to lay claim to parts of the South China Sea-is inconsistent with global laws governing maritime resources".

The Filipino leader has refused to pursue a landmark 2016 worldwide tribunal ruling in Manila's favor over its competing claims with Beijing.

Le, however, added that China knows Vietnam is not likely to side with the US militarily to challenge Chinese expansion. "And that's to promote security, stability and prosperity in the region". The 1,000 foot-long (300 meter) ship weighing 95,000 tons will be in Danang until its departure on Friday.

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