United States aircraft carrier in Vietnam for the first time since the war

United States aircraft carrier in Vietnam for the first time since the war

Before calling at Danang, the Carl Vinson was anchored off Manila.

For the first time since the Vietnam War, a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier is paying a visit to a Vietnamese port, seeking to bolster both countries' efforts to stem expansionism by China in the South China Sea.

While the USA takes no formal position on the disputes between China and the other claimants in the South China Sea, it regularly makes so-called freedom of navigation operations to demonstrate the right to fly and sail through what it considers to be global waters and airspace. Sawyer added that, following the USS Carl Vinson, he is "looking forward to bringing one of the US submarines to a port in Vietnam". The crew will meet with their Vietnamese counterparts, visit victims of Agent Orange, and participate in a soccer match and a concert. It marks a fine-tuning, rather than a turning point, in relations.

In order to strengthen the Vietnamese coastguard, the U.S. has transferred equipment there.

Mary Tarnowka, the US consul general in Vietnam, called the carrier visit a milestone in bilateral relations.

President Donald J. Trump's visit to Vietnam last November laid the groundwork for the aircraft carrier visit, Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Thi Thu Hang said in a statement. "It also demonstrates the dramatic progress we made in our bilateral relationship in recent years". His administration lifted a decades-long embargo on lethal arms sales to Vietnam in 2016, just over two decades after relations were normalized.

The ships' arrival is the biggest USA military presence in the Southeast Asian country since 1975.

"Although the visit is mainly symbolic and would not be able to change China's behaviour, especially in the South China Sea, it is still necessary in conveying the message that the US will be there to stay", Hiep said.

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There is no doubt that China controls the water in this area, but formidable American naval forces continue to make their presence known.

"They might be irritated but gradualism is the key word here.Vietnam will only embrace the U.S.at a pace that doesn't cause an over-reaction from China".

"It seems the US side is still not sure quite what Vietnam wants, but the focus will likely be on ways to enhance Vietnams maritime domain awareness and maritime security capabilities", he said.

Vietnam, while traditionally wary of its huge northern neighbour, shares China's system of single-party rule and intolerance for political dissent. So they have this economic relationship with China; they have less of an economic relationship with the United States, so there's this complex dance between each of the three participants.

Defense ties between the United States and Vietnam expanded under President Barack Obama. "In terms of security, both countries certainly share substantial common interest in the containment of China in view of the territorial dispute between China and Vietnam".

"By spoiling relations with China, Vietnam will get nothing. It is basically a kind of hedging strategy, a kind of balance of power strategy", he said. It's interesting, I was in Danang recently, and this is where the United States super carrier is docking, but along the shore there's incredible Chinese investment of hotels and resorts, where the Chinese tourists are skipping the harsh Chinese winter to go to more tropical Vietnam. Besides, the Americans have a habit of screwing up their allies as they did to the South Vietnamese authorities at the end of the Vietnam War.

Huynh Quang Nguyen, a taxi driver, echoed the sentiment.

"The government didn't back down in 2014 and that played very well", said Collin Koh Swee Lean, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

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