Aircraft Carrier USS Carl Vinson Makes Vietnam Port Call

US Aircraft Carrier Visits Vietnam For The First Time Since The War

"Vietnam has been deeply concerned about China's pugilistic and aggressive moves in the South China Sea", said John Kirby, a retired US Navy rear admiral and CNN military and diplomatic analyst.

A U.S. 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 USS Carl Vinson will make a four-day port call to the central city of Danang for a highly symbolic trip that will include a visit to a centre for victims of Agent Orange, the toxic defoliant sprayed over large swathes of land by the US during the Vietnam war.

The Vinson arrived with two escort ships, cruiser USS Lake Champlain and destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer. He hopes a USA submarine would one day visit Vietnam.

The Vinson's visit also sends a message to China as that country continues to develop reefs in the disputed South China Sea and claim control over the vast area.

The Carl Vinson carries 6,000 crew members, stretches more than 1,000 feet and weighs more than 100,000 tons.

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The Vietnamese leader was quoted by the Asian Age; "We reaffirm our close collaboration to support India to further its relations and multi-faceted connectivity with ASEAN attaching high importance to the maintenance of security, maritime safety and freedom of navigation and over flight, settlement of disputes by peaceful means on the basis of global law".

"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", said Swift. Pacific Fleet. "I am confident that engagements like this will further expand the comprehensive partnership between the United States and Vietnam".

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China is now the de facto superpower in this region, and by far the most important trading partner for Vietnam.

Servicemembers will participate in cultural and professional exchanges during community service projects, sports competitions and receptions, a Navy statement said.

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.

Although no USA aircraft carrier has been to Vietnam since the end of the war, other smaller American warships have made high-level visits as ties improved in recent years.

"The carrier has not been here [in Vietnam] for 40 years".

Separately from this week's mission, US officials have said American warships would continue sailing without prior notice close to the China-occupied islands and atolls, an aggressive way of signaling to Beijing that it does not recognize its sovereignty over those areas.

Vietnam's foreign ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said the visit will "contribute to maintaining peace, stability, security, cooperation and development in the region".

The Vietnam War - which Vietnam calls the American War - was protracted and bloody. In this way Hanoi aims to deepen the stakes of other major powers in protecting its resources and maritime claims in the South China Sea.

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