US aircraft carrier visits Da Nang as US seeks closer ties with Vietnam

Bangkok – A U.S. aircraft carrier and two guided-missile cruisers are visiting Vietnam on Monday, an unusual visit as the U.S. and China intensify their competition for influence in Southeast Asia.

The USS Ronald Reagan, along with the guided-missile cruisers Antietam and Robert Smalls, arrived in Da Nang on Sunday for a visit.

Neighboring China is Vietnam’s largest trading partner, but the Chinese government’s claims of extensive maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea have led to increased friction Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and and philippines.

On the other hand, the United States is diplomatically promoting the strengthening of economic and military ties in the Indo-Pacific region.

The aircraft carrier’s port visit will be the third since the two countries restored relations after the end of the Vietnam War, following a trip to Vietnam this year. US Secretary of State Anthony BlinkenU.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and USAID Administrator Samantha Power.

Prashanth Parameswaran, Asia Program Fellow at the Wilson Center, said: “While aircraft carrier visits often attract media attention due to their high profile, the broader issue is Washington’s quest to improve relations. It’s about how it affects the development of relationships, including wrote in his research notebook.

“Too narrow a focus on carrier visits could distract from the broader trend of developing a more comprehensive defense relationship and relationship between the United States and Vietnam,” Parameswaran added.

Officers of the USS Ronald Reagan disembarked on Sunday and were greeted by Vietnamese officers after docking at the port of Da Nang, which the United States had modernized and expanded for its own use during the war.

During his visit through June 30, Captain Daryl Cardone of the Ronald Reagan said some of the ship’s more than 5,000 crew members would volunteer at several community outreach events and meet local athletes. He said he plans to play sports with and participate in other cultural and professional exchanges. .

“For some Reagan sailors, Vietnam will be called home, but for most, it will be their first visit,” Cardone said in a U.S. Navy release.

The U.S. government sees Hanoi as a key part of this regional strategy, taking advantage of Vietnam’s traditional rivalry with its much larger neighbor China to expand US influence in the region.

JapanThe country, a strong U.S. ally, also visited Vietnam last week on its largest escort ship, the Izumo, after conducting exercises in the South China Sea with the Reagan and other U.S. warships.

China is also helping in efforts to repair the fence, navy training ship A month ago, the company was due to make its own port call in Da Nang as part of a so-called goodwill tour that also visited Thailand, Brunei and the Philippines.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said President Reagan’s visit was part of “regular friendly exchanges for peace, stability, cooperation and development both in the region and the world.”

Parameswaran said Vietnam needs to balance its delicate relationship with China with U.S. foreign affairs and domestic public opinion, noting that polls show Vietnamese people’s pro-American sentiment among the highest in Southeast Asia. bottom.

Based in Yokosuka, Japan, the USS Ronald Reagan is the only forward-deployed American aircraft carrier. Next year she will be replaced in that role by another Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, the USS George Washington.

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