Mar 11, 2020 / 10:25

Carrier visit highlights US strong support for Vietnam: Adm. Aquilino

The Hanoitimes - The visit, following the historic 2018 visit of USS Carl Vinson, demonstrated the strong US commitment to its comprehensive partnership with Vietnam and to a free and open Indo-Pacific.

The recently-concluded visit of the Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group to Danang highlights US our continued cooperation and strong support for Vietnam, said Adm. John C. Aquilino, commander of the US Pacific Fleet.

 Adm. Aquilino (middle) and US Ambassador to Vietnam Kritenbrink (left) at a press meeting on March 5. Photo: US embassy

“Our commitment to each other, including this week’s visit, will help ensure a stable, predictable, and durable relationship based on mutual interests, values, and trust,” said Adm. Aquilino in a March 6 telephone briefing with journalists last week. “We are honored to receive such a wonderful and warm welcome from the people of Vietnam.”  

USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and on March 9 completed a five-day port visit to Vietnam’s central city of Danang, part of a program to commemorate 25 years of US-Vietnam diplomatic relations.

The visit, following the historic 2018 visit of USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), demonstrated the strong US commitment to its comprehensive partnership with Vietnam and to a free and open Indo-Pacific, the US embassy in Hanoi said in a statement.

 USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) docks at Danang. Photo: US embassy

“Through hard work, mutual respect, and continuing to address the past while we work toward a better future, the United States and Vietnam have grown a partnership grounded in trust and mutual respect,” added Ambassador Kritenbrink in the same phone briefing.  

“This, of course, is the second time a US carrier strike group has visited Vietnam.  Visits like these not only strengthen the United States’ partnership with Vietnam, but they also continue to ensure peace and stability and freedom of commerce across the region. This visit is just one more step forward in strengthening our friendship and partnership with Vietnam, and I could not be more optimistic about our shared future together,” said the ambassador.

During the visit, sailors from both ships participated in cultural exchanges and community service projects including making crafts, playing sports, a language exchange, gardening, and painting at Danang’s Vocational Charity Center, the Center of the Charity and Child Protection Association, the Agent Orange Victims Center, Hoa Mai Orphanage, and Dong A University, demonstrating the importance of people-to-people ties between the United States and Vietnam. 
A professional exchange taking place during the visit focused on cooperating on infectious disease prevention.

“Our relationship with Vietnam is also built on strong people-to-people ties and it relies on our ability to engage one-on-one in professional and humanitarian activities,” stated Ambassador Kritenbrink in the March 6 phone briefing.  “This ship visit offers the opportunity for Americans and Vietnamese to share skills related to, for example, the control of infectious disease and language capabilities, to enjoy concerts and sporting events together, and to engage in community activities throughout Danang.”

The visit also offered an opportunity for a number of Vietnamese American sailors in the Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group to visit Vietnam. “I haven’t been back to Vietnam in over 20 years. I look forward to reconnecting with my culture and enjoying Vietnamese food,” said Tho Nguyen, Chief Electrician’s Mate aboard the USS Bunker Hill.

US 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of US national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of operations. As the US Navy’s largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.