On March 5, the USSCarl Vinson docked at the central Vietnamese port of Da Nang, in a port call that the commander of the United States aircraft strike group described as a "historic step".
The ship's arrival marks another step toward improved military and economic ties since the two former adversaries normalized relations in 1995.
"I'm not going to speak specifically to China", Rear Admiral John Fuller, commander of the Carl Vinson strike group, told reporters Monday.
China lays claim to nearly the entire energy-rich and strategically-important South China Sea, but several other nations such as Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have overlapping claims.
A US Navy band will play a concert in Danang during the Vinson's visit, and sailors from the carrier are to spend time at a treatment centre for people who were exposed to Agent Orange chemicals during the war.
Subscribe to Times of San Diego's free daily email newsletter! . "Also, we'd like to thank Vietnam for the excellent logistical support that makes this visit possible".
While China has been objecting to India's oil exploration efforts in the South-China sea, the two sides agreed to continue cooperation in oil and gas exploration on land and in the continental shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone of Vietnam.
United States aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson arrives at a port in Danang, Vietnam Monday.
That the US has sent its "epitome of modern naval power" to the area delivers a message to China, wrote Carl Thayer, professor of politics at the Australian Defence Force Academy, wrote in a policy briefing.
Servicemembers will participate in cultural and professional exchanges during community service projects, sports competitions and receptions, a Navy statement said. Navy musicians from the USA 7th Fleet Band will also perform free concerts for the public.
The U.S.S. Carl Vinson is set to arrive in Vietnam for a historic visi in response to China's growing presence in the South China Sea.
Vietnam Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said the visit underscores its good relations with the US and contributes to "maintaining peace, stability, security, cooperation and development in the region". Analysts say the port call, which follows a visit to the Philippines last month, is a chance for the United States to flex its military muscle in Asia. China has condemned the operations and has responded in the past by scrambling fighter jets to monitor the US vessels.
It marked the largest American military presence on Vietnamese shores since 1975, signaling the emergence of an unlikely alliance between Washington and the Southeast Asian communist regime. A number of nations have competing territorial claims in the South China Sea region.
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