The Hanoitimes - Decades after the war, ties between the two countries are increasingly seen through shared concern over China’s aggressive behavior in the South China Sea.
The US hopes that another aircraft carrier would be allowed to visit Vietnam this year after the two sides reach an agreement on this issue, Reuters quoted a senior US defense official said on Wednesday.
“We had our first aircraft carrier visit to Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War and we very much hope we can reach agreement with our colleagues in Vietnam for a second aircraft carrier visit this year,” Randall Schriver, the assistant secretary of defense for the Indo-Pacific region, spoke at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The USS Carl Vinson. Photo: National Interest
The visit or port stop is expected to become a regular feature of the increasingly close relationship between the former foes in the midst of climbing tensions in the South China Sea.
“We are discussing it with Vietnam right now. Our hope is that this can be a regular feature of the relationship. It would be a sign of a mature and a strategic relationship,” Schriver said.
In March 2018, the USS Carl Vinson stopped in Vietnam for the first time since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, underscoring the growing strategic ties between the former foes at a time when China’s regional influence is rising.
Schriver also said he hoped the United States would transfer a second coast guard cutter available to Vietnam to help build up maritime capacity. The US Coast Guard transferred an armed Hamilton-class cutter to its Vietnamese counterpart in Honolulu, Hawaii in May 2017. The handover was part of the US Excess Defense Articles program that offers excess military equipment to US partners and allies in support of modernisation efforts, the US embassy in Hanoi said in a statement
Decades after the war, ties between the two countries are increasingly seen through shared concern over China’s aggressive behavior in the South China Sea, through which more than US$3 trillion in cargo passes every year.
US carriers frequently cross the South China Sea in a rising pattern of naval deployments, and are now routinely shadowed by Chinese naval vessels, said naval officers in the region.