Vietnam is one of the claimants in the territorial disputes with China, which has in turn challenged the U.S. navy's presence in the waters. Among other things, he announced a full lifting of the US' decades-old ban on weapon sales to Vietnam.
"They are anxious about where China is going, and they have wanted for years now to have a better relationship with the United States".
Analysts say the visit by the 95,000-ton carrier to Vietnam is a clear shot at Beijing, created to counter China's aggressive island building and militarization in the South China Sea. In June 2012, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visited the USNS Richard C. Byrd in Cam Ranh Bay - the logistics hub of USA forces during the Vietnam War. In this regard, both sides supported the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and look forward to an early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.
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The Filipino leader has refused to pursue a landmark 2016 worldwide tribunal ruling in Manila's favor over its competing claims with Beijing. "I think we've helped create the environment that has allowed for the 70 years of growth".
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. Washington normalized relations with Vietnam in 1995 and lifted an arms embargo in 2016.
In addition to Vietnam, the U.S. is also tightening military cooperation with long-standing allies Australia, Japan and India.
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"Hanoi's agreement to the aircraft carrier visit demonstrates Vietnam's anxiety about what China will do next in the South China Sea", Murray Hiebert of the Southeast Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said to The New York Times. It far outstrips China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, in terms of fighting power and makes for a much more impressive show of force than other American naval vessels that have made port in Vietnam. "The United States and Vietnam are cooperating more closely than ever before".
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.
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Vietnam Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said the visit will "continue to promote bilateral relations within the framework of the two countries' comprehensive partnership and contribute to maintaining peace, stability, security, cooperation and development in the region".