US Navy commander visits river where Vietnam defeated China

By Tu Quynh   October 7, 2017 | 12:07 am PT
He hailed growing cooperation between the U.S. and Vietnam’s navies in time of regional instability.

Admiral Scott Swift joined a U.S. delegation on Friday as he visited the site of a river battle where Vietnam defeated Chinese invaders three times a thousand years ago.

Swift, now serving as the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, visited the Bach Dang River Heritage Site in the northern port city of Hai Phong with Ted Osius, the U.S. ambassador to Vietnam.


Admiral Scott Swift visits the Bach Dang River Heritage Site in northern Vietnam on Friday. Photo by VnExpress/Vu Anh

The river witnessed three important battles in Vietnamese history. It was where Ngo Quyen, who later became king for five years, led rebels to defeat invading forces from the Southern Han state of China and put an end to nearly a thousand years of Chinese imperial domination in Vietnam.

Wooden poles were set up in the river as traps against the Chinese, the same tactic used in two other battles in 981 and 1288 against two other invasions from China.

Some of the poles are still visible today.

Ambassador Osius said in a Facebook post following the visit that the victories, won with “resilience, determination, and ingenious tactics,” serve as “a testament to the Vietnamese peoples’ tenacity.”

“The patriotic spirit and determination of the Vietnamese people, so well reflected through these monuments of the past, is alive and well in the people today,” he said.

Admiral Swift also expressed his admiration for the Vietnamese heroes who stood against an enemy much stronger than them.

He said the spirit would be a big inspiration to his career in national defense.

He also hailed the growth of Vietnam and U.S.’s naval cooperation, pressing its importance in times of common threats and instability in the region.

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