France to hold military exercise with Vietnam Navy

By Toan Dao   May 3, 2016 | 01:26 pm GMT+7
France to hold military exercise with Vietnam Navy
The France's amphibious assault ship, the Tonnerre. Photo by Vietnam People's Army Newspaper

The French navy’s amphibious assault ship, the Tonnerre, has arrived at Vietnam’s Cam Ranh International Port in the coastal central province of Khanh Hoa in a move to strengthen ties between the two navies.

The Tonnerre and Vietnam’s 4th Naval Zone will conduct a joint military exercise during the five-day visit from Monday, which will include search and rescue operations, the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) said in a report on Monday.

The 21,500-ton vessel, one of the French navy’s biggest, is 200 meters in length, 32 meters in width and about 48 meters in height.

Cam Ranh also welcomed the hydrographic research and charting vessel the Marshal Gelovani from Russia’s Pacific Fleet on May 2 to take on basic supplies for its voyage, the VNA said in another report on Monday.

On April 12, two Japanese destroyers dropped anchor at the new international port that opened in March this year. The new port project is separate from the existing naval base, home to Vietnam’s submarine fleet and other key naval vessels.

Cam Ranh Bay holds a strategic position in the East Sea due to its proximity to international navigation routes and the Spratly Islands, where China is illegally building bases on reclaimed islands. The naval base had been used by both the U.S. and Russia for military purposes in the past.