USS Carl Vinson arrives in Vietnam

The U.S. aircraft carrier arrived in Danang for the first visit of its kind since the Vietnam War

USS Carl Vinson arrives in Vietnam

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) sits anchored off the coast of Manila. Carl Vinson Strike Group is currently in the Western Pacific as part of a regularly scheduled deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan M. Kinee/Released)

dpa, Hamburg, Germany

Danang  The US aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson arrived in Danang Monday morning for the first visit of its kind since the Vietnam War.

The Carl Vinson, a Nimitz-class supercarrier with a crew of 6,000, will spend four days ashore in Danang for its friendly port call, which is to include sport, cultural and professional exchanges with its Vietnamese hosts.

Carl Thayer, emeritus professor at the University of New South Wales and Southeast Asia expert, said it will be the largest US military in presence in Vietnam since the war ended in 1975.

“The visit of the USS Carl Vinson represents an evolution in military engagement between Vietnam and the United States,” he said, adding that the visit signals evolving trust between Hanoi and Washington.

Vietnam and the US have grown increasingly close in recent years as both countries oppose Chinese ambitions in the South China Sea.

China claims almost all the South China Sea, including parts of Vietnam’s internationally recognised exclusive economic zone. The US frequently sends naval vessels to patrol the sea in what it calls “freedom of navigation” exercises.

Thayer said Vietnam’s friendliness with the US is part of a strategy of balancing foreign influence among major powers.

“The bottom line is that Vietnam pursues a multipolar balance among the major powers,” he said.

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©2018 Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH (Hamburg, Germany)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service