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US Aircraft Carrier to Visit Vietnam

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US carrier to make landmark visit to Vietnam the first since 1975

The guided missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain and destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer are also making the port call.

This has become the first large-scale appearance of US Navy ships in the territorial waters of Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.

The ship's arrival is the latest step forward in improving military and economic ties since the two former adversaries normalized relations in 1995. Both the leaders while reviewing the progress of connectivity endeavours such as the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway agreed to explore the possibility of extending the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway further to Vietnam through Cambodia and Lao PDR.

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.

Later on, the U.S. and the USSR that supported South and North Vietnam respectively, became involved in the conflict.

The visit includes friendly basketball and soccer matches between USA sailors and locals, along with an orphanage visit and navy band concerts.

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An American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier has docked at Danang, Vietnam, for the first time since the end of the war between the former foes, in what is viewed as a push by Washington to challenge Beijing's presence in the disputed South China Sea. "The United States and Vietnam are cooperating more closely than ever before".

More broadly, Vietnam has rapidly expanded its naval capabilities, including the purchase of kilo-class submarines from Russian Federation and the development of its naval facilities in the highly strategic port of Da Nang. "They demonstrate our commitment to regional prosperity and stability", he said. "I am confident that engagements like this will further expand the comprehensive partnership between the United States and Vietnam".

Smaller US navy ships have visited Vietnam but this is the first by a carrier. The U.S. sailors are scheduled to visit a treatment center for victims affected by the chemical defoliant Agent Orange during the war.

China claims sovereignty over nearly all of the South China Sea, where more than $5 trillion of goods are shipped each year through some of the world's busiest waterways. They also reiterated the importance of, and the need for complete compliance with global law, notably the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS), including the implementation of worldwide legal obligations in good faith, the maintenance of freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, full respect for diplomatic and legal processes, peaceful settlement of disputes without resorting to the threat or use of force, and in accordance with worldwide law.

The United States takes no sides in the disputes, but insists that freedom of navigation for all is maintained.

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