Vietnam, US to step up maritime security cooperation

By Viet Anh   May 28, 2018 | 08:12 pm PT
Vietnam, US to step up maritime security cooperation
U.S. Navy cruiser the USS Lake Champlain in Tien Sa Port on March 3, 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong
Bilateral military ties between former foes gain steam.

Vietnam and the U.S. are looking for ways to boost bilateral co-operation on maritime security amidst growing tensions in the South China Sea, known as the East Sea in Vietnam.

In a May 25 meeting, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Vietnamese ambassador to the U.S. Pham Quang Vinh discussed ways to deepen cooperation on maritime security.

They highlighted the importance of ensuring security, safety and freedom of maritime and aviation as well as respecting international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982.

During the meeting, Vinh praised the multifaceted development of the ties of comprehensive partnership between the two countries. There were multiple high-level visits in 2017, he said, adding that Vietnam would continue to promote the implementation of defense cooperation programs between the two countries, especially following Mattis’s visit to the country last January.

Both sides also exchanged views on strengthening cooperation between the U.S. and ASEAN towards maintaining regional peace and security.

Two U.S. Navy warships sailed near the South China Sea islands claimed by China on Sunday, two U.S. officials told Reuters, in a move seen as the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters.

The military relationship between Vietnam and the U.S. has come a long way since the two former enemies battled it out during the Vietnam War. Last March, U.S. aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson’s historic visit to the central city of Da Nang marked a monumental milestone in the diplomatic relationship between the two countries. The event garnered global attention, being the first time a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier has docked in the country, four decades after the end of the Vietnam War.

Defense relations between Vietnam and the U.S. have strengthened since 2016, when President Obama decided to lift the ban on the sale of assault weapons to Vietnam. The Trump administration has also identified Vietnam as a “cooperative maritime partner.”

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