USA aircraft carrier arrives in Vietnam for landmark visit

Casey Dawson
March 6, 2018

"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 Navy Adm. Scott Swift, the commander of the U.S.

"The visit marks an enormously significant milestone in our bilateral relations and demonstrates USA support for a strong, prosperous and independent Vietnam", Daniel Kritenbrink, the US ambassador to Vietnam, told the ceremony.

"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", Kritenbrink said in the Navy statement.

The four-day visit by the USS Carl Vinson and its contingent of 5,000 sailors and aviators has been deemed as a historic opportunity to enhance the budding friendship that has emerged between the two former foes, reports CNN.

The high-profile symbolism of the U.S. attempting to check China's power in the region is not lost among analysts.

Danang is the city where 3,500 Marines landed in March 1965 as the first American ground troops in the Vietnam War.

Although there was no formal defense treaty signed, both leaders emphasized that ensuring a stable rule based order and freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific was essential for the peace and prosperity of the region. "The visit also builds on the positive momentum of the comprehensive partnership between the US and Vietnam, and will not only serve to strengthen the bilateral defense relationship, but will also help enhance cultural and professional ties".

The 333-meter long Nimitz-class Carl Vinson, which entered service with the US Navy in 1982, has a displacement of 97,000 tons and is equipped with two nuclear power units. The strike group has a total crew of 6,000 sailors, 5,000 of which are on the Vinson.

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"Vietnam has been deeply concerned about China's pugilistic and aggressive moves in the South China Sea".

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.

With a Northrup Grumman E-2 Hawkeye parked in foreground, US navy personnel cool themselves on the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier anchors off Manila, Philippines, for a five-day port call along with guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018.

Vietnamese diplomats and military officers have repeatedly stressed the country's independent foreign policy and its desire for broad foreign relations - hoping to maintain stable ties with China while standing up to it over the South China Sea, the sources said. "It also demonstrates the dramatic progress we made in our bilateral relationship in recent years", he said.

"They understand well the strategic rationale behind the rapprochement between Vietnam and the USA, which was largely driven by China's growing assertiveness in the South China Sea", he said.

Danang was a major U.S. military base during the Vietnam War.

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

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