US aircraft carrier arrives in Vietnam on landmark visit

A U.S. aircraft carrier arrived in Vietnam on Monday for once 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 can be rising.

The grey along with also imposing silhouette of the USS Carl Vinson could be seen on Monday morning by the cliff tops just outside the central Vietnamese city of Danang, where the 103,000-tonne carrier along with also two different U.S. ships begin a 5-day visit.

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

“Through hard work, mutual respect, along with also by continuing to address the past while we work towards a better future, we have gone by former enemies to close partners.”

The arrival of the Vinson marks the biggest U.S. military presence in Vietnam since 1975 – nevertheless the item also illustrates Hanoi’s complex along with also 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 neighbour over the visit along with also the prospect of broader security cooperation between Hanoi along with also Washington, according to diplomats along with also others familiar with the talks.

U.S. carriers frequently ply the South China Sea in a rising pattern of naval deployments, along with also are right now routinely shadowed by Chinese naval vessels, naval officers from the region say.

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

While some Chinese commentators have used the Vinson’s presence to demand an even greater Chinese military build-up from the South China Sea, official reaction by Beijing has been relatively muted since the stop was announced in January.

of which announcement came during a two-day visit to Hanoi by U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis along with also followed months of backroom military diplomacy between Hanoi along with also the Pentagon.

Although no U.S. aircraft carrier has been to Vietnam since the end of the war, different, smaller U.S. warships have made high-level visits as ties enhanced in recent years.

of which includes a 2016 visit by submarine tender USS Frank Cable along with also guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain to Cam Ranh Bay, a crucial logistics complex during the Vietnam War.

A U.S. Navy band will play a concert in Danang during the Vinson’s visit, along with also sailors by the carrier are scheduled to spend time at a treatment centre for people who were exposed to Agent Orange chemicals during the war.

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