The US aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan arrives in Danang, Vietnam

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The visit comes as the US and Vietnam look to deepen ties amid concerns over China’s growing regional power.

The US aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan has arrived in Danang in central Vietnam, weeks after Hanoi protested Chinese ships sailing in its waters.

The port call comes as the US and Vietnam look to deepen ties, 10 years after signing their “comprehensive partnership”, amid shared trade ties and concerns about China’s growing power in the region.

A Chinese research vessel, multiple coast guard vessels and fishing boats operated in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea for weeks, prompting Vietnam’s foreign ministry to demand that they leave.

The boats finally left in early June.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea under its so-called nine-dash line, deploying ships and building artificial islands and military facilities on reefs and outcrops. It also ignored a 2016 International Court of Justice ruling that the nine-dash line had “no legal basis”.

In addition to Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei also claim parts of the sea.

“The visit conveys the message that Vietnam is balancing itself with China by improving its security relationship with the US and other outside powers,” said Nguyen The Phuong, a doctoral candidate in maritime security at the University of New South Wales Canberra. the AFP news agency.

The visit by the nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan is only the third visit by a US aircraft carrier since the end of the Vietnam War and follows the arrival of Indian naval vessels in Danang last month, as well as a port visit by Japan’s largest warship in Cam Ranh, a city on the southeast coast, earlier this week.

The US aircraft carrier is expected to remain in Danang until June 30.

Strong bilateral ties between the US and Vietnam are essential for Washington to remain the dominant power in the region, Phuong said.

“The US hopes that by sending one of their most formidable naval assets, they will have a trusted and reliable partner in Vietnam,” he said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Hanoi in April and made it clear that he wanted to strengthen diplomatic relations.

The first US aircraft carrier to visit Vietnam was the USS Carl Vinson in 2018, and the USS Theodore Roosevelt stopped by in 2020 to mark 25 years since the end of the Vietnam War.



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