Photo from an earlier visit to Hong Kong
Cold War enemies the United States and Vietnam demonstrated their blossoming military relations Sunday as a US nuclear supercarrier floated in waters off the Southeast Asian nation’s coast.
The USS George Washington’s stop, which comes 35 years after the Vietnam War, is officially billed as a commemoration of last month’s 15th anniversary of normalised diplomatic relations between the former foes. But the timing also reflects Washington’s heightened interest in maintaining security and stability in the Asia-Pacific amid tensions following the sinking of a South Korean warship in March, which killed 46 sailors. North Korea has been blamed for the attack, but has vehemently denied any involvement.
Last month during an Asian security meeting in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also angered China by unexpectedly calling on the Communist powerhouse to resolve territorial claims with neighbouring Southeast Asian countries over islands in the South China Sea.
China claims the entire sea and the disputed Spratly and Paracel islands over which it exercises complete sovereignty. But Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines also have staked claims on all or some of the territory, which straddles vital shipping lanes, important fishing grounds and is believed rich in oil and natural gas reserves. Clinton announced that the US has a national interest in seeing the claims resolved…
Maybe Hillary thinks Lyndon Johnson made the Gulf of Tonkin part of Texas?
The aircraft carrier’s visit is particularly symbolic as it floats off the coast of central Danang, once the site of a bustling U.S. military base during the Vietnam War, which ended April 30, 1975, when northern communist forces seized control of the US-backed capital of South Vietnam, reuniting the country.
Some 58,000 Americans and an estimated 3 million Vietnamese were killed during the war.
The US is now Vietnam’s top export market and Americans are the country’s No. 1 foreign investor. Two-way trade reached $15.4 billion in 2009.
Of course, if the United States hadn’t been occupied with being the cop of the world – that trade, cooperation and commerce could have started decades ago.
We always forget that VietNam was one of the Asian nations that fought on our side against Japan through World War 2. Even though they were occupied beforehand by France as a colonial “property”.