Vietnamese ambassador to the US visits aircraft carrier in Virginia

By Vu Hoang   February 24, 2018 | 08:15 pm PT
Vietnamese ambassador to the US visits aircraft carrier in Virginia
U.S. Under Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly (R) welcomes Vietnamese Ambassador to the U.S. Pham Quang Vinh (L). Photo courtesy of Vietnam's Foreign Ministry.
Ambassador Pham Quang Vinh's tour of the USS George H.W. Bush is said to mark the development of Vietnam-U.S. relations.

The Vietnamese ambassador to the U.S. on Wednesday visited Naval Station Norfolk, homeport of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), as part of a two-day official visit to the city of Norfolk, Virginia.

Ambassador Pham Quang Vinh was accompanied by U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Patrick Murphy as he was welcomed on board the Nimitz-class carrier by U.S. navy officials.

During the visit, Vinh and the U.S. officials praised the multifaceted development of the Vietnam-U.S. comprehensive partnership which has included multiple high-level visits in 2017. Both sides also said the two countries would continue to promote the implementation of defense cooperation programs, especially in war reparation, search and rescue, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and maritime security and safety, as well as training and U.N. peacekeeping operations.

"It is an honor to host Ambassador Vinh aboard USS George H.W. Bush," said Captain Chris Hill, the ship's executive officer. "It is important to continue to build on these relationships in order to increase security cooperation, humanitarian relief efforts and the. U.S.-Vietnam comprehensive partnership."

Speaking at the event, Under Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly regarded the visit as a clear demonstration of the development of bilateral relations.

During the visit, Vinh and the official party toured the ship and had lunch with the crew and U.S. officials.

Captain Chris Hill (L) gives the official party a presentation on the USS George H.W. Bush. Photo by Vietnams Foreign Ministry.

Captain Chris Hill (L) gives the official party a presentation on the USS George H.W. Bush. Photo courtesy of Vietnam's Foreign Ministry.

USS George H. W. Bush is the tenth Nimitz-class supercarrier in the U.S. Navy, named after the 41st President of the United States. Commissioned in 2009, the $6.2 billion ship can carry a crew of 5,000 soldiers and sailors, as well as 90 military aircraft. The ship's homeport Naval Station Norfolk is the U.S. Navy's main base for fleets operating in the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. As home to 75 ships and 134 aircraft, it is the largest naval station in the world.

Earlier in January, Hanoi's defense ministry said the United States will send an aircraft carrier to Vietnam, dramatic evidence of deepening military ties between the former enemies more than four decades after the Vietnam War.

The proposed visit is set for March at the central port of Da Nang, Vietnam’s defense ministry said in a statement. Such a visit by a U.S. aircraft carrier could bring the most U.S. forces to Vietnam since the conflict ended in 1975.

Education cooperation

Ambassador Vinh and Deputy Assistant Secretary Murphy then visited Old Dominion University (ODU) on Thursday, where they held talks about bilateral relations and cooperation programs between ODU and its partners in Vietnam.

At Vinh's meeting with ODU's president John Broderick and provost Austin Agho, both sides agreed to strengthen education cooperation and exchanges to help develop the Vietnam-U.S. comprehensive partnership.

Vinh and Murphy also spoke with the university's staff and students about their thoughts on the development of bilateral relations, from common enemies to comprehensive partners. During the talk, Murphy said bilateral relations had reached a new high, with widened cooperations in multiple fields such as economy, commerce, security and defense. He said that Vietnam was one of the United States' most important partners in Southeast Asia, and expressed his belief that the comprehensive partnership would continue to develop for the benefit of both countries as well as the entire region.

Established in 1930, ODU is a public research university based in Norfolk. Many of its students are naval officers from units based in Naval Station Norfolk, and its alumnis include decorated military officers such as Admiral William Fallon, former commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, and General Benjamin Griffin, former commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.

Vietnamese Ambassador to the U.S. Pham Quang Vinh talks to the staff and students at Old Dominion University. Photo by Vietnams Foreign Ministry.
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