United States carrier arrives in Vietnam, putting China on notice

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With China also hurrying to strengthen its navy, the Sino-American competition for superiority in the Asia-Pacific region appears bound to intensify.

In November, Trump visited Vietnam as part of his inaugural Asia trip aimed at reassuring allies that the US was still committed to the region, and in January, the US Defense Secretary James Mattis also visited, laying the groundwork for this week's visit by the USS Carl Vinson. Danang saw heavy fighting during the war as the site of a major US military base, but those gathered showed no sign of bearing a grudge. "We hope to continue the same issue that we've always had and that's to promote security, stability and prosperity in the region".

An American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier has docked at Danang, Vietnam, for the first time since the end of the war between the former foes, in what is viewed as a push by Washington to challenge Beijing's presence in the disputed South China Sea.

This comes as China has been building militarized artificial islands across the South China Sea, stirring concern among regional us allies.

In January, the Defense Department labeled China and Russian Federation "revisionist powers" seeking to undermine the worldwide order. The Carl Vinson carries over 5,000 sailors, which is the largest contingent of American soldiers to land in Vietnam since US troops withdrew in 1975. The carrier also stopped in the Philippines in February.

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"The USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier is the epitome of modern naval power", Carlyle Thayer, emeritus professor at the Australian Defence Force Academy and an expert on the South China Sea, wrote in a policy briefing in late February.

The arrival of the Vinson marks the biggest U.S. military presence in Vietnam since 1975 - but it also illustrates Hanoi's complex and evolving relationship with Beijing over the disputed South China Sea as China announced its largest rise in defence spending in three years.

But the significance of the visit is not lost on observers, amid ongoing tensions in the South China Sea which the USS Carl Vison patrols. "Increased cooperation between the two countries in economic, diplomatic and military areas would serve as a counterbalance to Beijing's expansionism". Some Vietnamese officials are concerned that China could respond to the US visit by maintaining its own presence in Vietnamese waters. The high-profile symbolism of the United States attempting to check China's power in the region is not lost among analysts.

During their stay in Da Nang, U.S. Navy officers will meet their Vietnamese counterparts and local authorities, who will be invited on a tour of the carrier. Pacific Fleet. "I am confident that engagements like this will further expand the comprehensive partnership between the United States and Vietnam". In May 2017, Vietnam hosted a Japanese helicopter carrier in Cam Ranh Bay for what was called a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief drill.

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