US aircraft carrier to make rare port calls in Vietnam amid South China Sea tensions

HANOI: The US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan will stop at Central Vietnam’s port city of Danang on Sunday (Jun 25) in a rare visit for a US warship to the southeast Asian nation, as tensions with Beijing in the South China Sea remain high.

The ship will arrive on Sunday afternoon and stay at Danang until Jun 30, local media reported the spokesperson for Vietnam’s foreign affairs ministry as saying. The spokesperson did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

The visit of the USS Ronald Reagan is only the third for a US aircraft carrier since the end of the Vietnam War.

The USS Theodore Roosevelt stopped in Vietnam in 2020 to mark 25 years since the Vietnam War ended in 1975.

This year Washington is seeking to upgrade its formal ties with Vietnam, amid Hanoi’s frequent disputes with Beijing over boundaries in the South China Sea. China claims the waters almost in their entirety, including the exclusive economic zones of Vietnam and other countries in the region.

US carriers frequently cross the energy-rich sea, which contains crucial routes for global trade. The warships are often shadowed by Chinese vessels.

On Wednesday, the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong and a group of escorting vessels sailed south through the sensitive Taiwan Strait, Taiwan’s defense ministry said.

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