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US Aircraft Carrier Arrives in Vietnam on Landmark Visit

US Aircraft Carrier Arrives in Vietnam on Landmark VisitUS Aircraft Carrier Arrives in Vietnam on Landmark Visit

A US aircraft carrier arrived in Vietnam on Monday for the first time since the end of the Vietnam War, dramatically underscoring the growing strategic ties between the former foes at a time when China’s regional influence is rising.

The grey and imposing silhouette of the USS Carl Vinson could be seen on Monday morning from the cliff tops just outside the central Vietnamese city of Danang, where the 103,000-tonne carrier and two other US ships begin a five-day visit, Reuters reported.

“The visit marks an enormously significant milestone in our bilateral relations and demonstrates US support for a strong, prosperous, and independent Vietnam,” Daniel Kritenbrink, the US ambassador to Vietnam, said in a statement.

“Through hard work, mutual respect, and by continuing to address the past while we work toward a better future, we have gone from former enemies to close partners.”

The arrival of the Vinson marks the biggest US military presence in Vietnam since 1975—but it also illustrates Hanoi’s complex and evolving relationship with Beijing over the disputed South China Sea.

Vietnamese envoys had been working for months to ease the concerns of their giant Chinese neighbor over the visit and the prospect of broader security cooperation between Hanoi and Washington, according to diplomats and others familiar with the talks.

US carriers frequently ply the South China Sea in a rising pattern of naval deployments, and are now routinely shadowed by Chinese naval vessels, naval officers in the region say.

China’s rapid construction and build-up of the land it holds in the disputed Spratly islands group has alarmed Vietnam and other regional governments as it seeks to enforce its claims to much of the disputed waterway, through which some $3 trillion in trade passes each year.

 

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