US Navy aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson arrived in Vietnam on Monday, marking the first visit of a US aircraft carrier to the country after the end of Vietnam War in 1975.
Carl Vinson and its 5,000 crew anchored two nautical miles off the port city of Danang for a four-day visit to the country.
While the port call – with its usual scheduled sporting and community events – has been deemed routine by the US Navy, analysts say it is a clear sign of the navy flexing its muscle in the region amid tension between China and US over China’s build-up of artificial islands in contested regions of the South China Sea.
Prior to visiting Vietnam, USS Carl Vinson visited the Philippines as part of its Indo-Pacific deployment aimed at promoting stability in the region and ensuring freedom of navigation in waters where Chinese claims overlap with those of the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.
Carl Vinson’s visit to Vietnam was first hinted at during a two-day visit of US defense secretary Jim Mattis to Vietnam in January this year.
Larger US Navy ships, including destroyers and amphibious transport dock ships, visited different Vietnam ports in the past but this is the first visit of a US Navy aircraft carrier to the Southeast Asian country since 1975.