US Navy starts drills with Vietnam days after sailing near disputed South China Sea island

The USS Coronado arrived at Cam Ranh International Port, Vietnam, for a five-day exercise with the Vietnamese navy, Wednesday, July 5, 2017.

AMY RESSLER/U.S. NAVY

By TYLER HLAVAC | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 5, 2017

The Navy has kicked off naval drills with Vietnam, just days after sending a guided-missile destroyer near a South China Sea islet claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The USS Coronado and USNS Salvor steamed into Vietnam’s Cam Ranh International Port Wednesday for the annual five-day “Naval Engagement Activity,” which will include ship handling, medical evacuations and practicing the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea, a Navy statement said. Skill exchanges will cover shipboard damage control, shipboard medicine and law.

“The United States values our comprehensive partnership with Vietnam and we look forward to deepening our relationship and people-to-people ties through engagements like NEA,” Task Force 73 Commander Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson said in the statement.

Personnel from Task Force 73, Destroyer Squadron 7 and the 7th Fleet Band will also participate, the statement said.

“These naval activities underscore the deepening and diverse relationship between the United States and Vietnam,” U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius said in the statement. “Our security cooperation was an important discussion point during the recent meeting between President [Donald] Trump and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.”

The exercise, which has been held annually since 2010, is being based for the first time at recently opened Cam Ranh International Port. Previous drills took place more than 300 miles north in Da Nang.

During a 2012 visit to Cam Ranh Bay, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta called Navy access to the port “a key component” of the U.S.-Vietnam relationship, according to The Diplomat.

The exercise begins just days after the guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem on Sunday sailed within 12 nautical miles of Triton, a South China Sea island in the Paracels chain claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan. A Chinese official called the operation “provocative” and said such actions “violate China’s sovereignty and threaten China’s security.”

A Navy official told Bloomberg the warship was passing through those waters on the basis of innocent passage.

hlavac.tyler@stripes.com

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This entry was posted in Biển Đông (SCS), US-VN Military Relationship - Quan hệ quốc phòng Việt Mỹ, US-VN Relationship - Quan hệ Việt Mỹ and tagged , , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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