US carrier to make third US port call in Vietnam since war amid South China Sea tension
PHOTO CAPTION: Illustrative photo — A Vietnamese soldier keeps watch in front of U.S. aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson after its arrival at a port in Danang, Vietnam March 5, 2018. REUTERS/Nguyen Huy Kham
HANOI (Reuters) - The U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan will stop at Central Vietnam's port city of Danang on Sunday in a rare visit for a U.S. warship to the southeast Asian nation, as tensions with Beijing in the South China Sea remain high.
The ship will arrive on Sunday afternoon and stay at Danang until June 30, local media reported the spokesperson for Vietnam's foreign affairs ministry as saying. The spokesperson did not respond to Reuters' requests for comment.
The visit of the USS Ronald Reagan is only the third for a U.S. aircraft carrier since the end of the Vietnam War.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt stopped in Vietnam in 2020 to mark 25 years since the Vietnam War ended in 1975.
This year Washington is seeking to upgrade its formal ties with Vietnam, amid Hanoi's frequent disputes with Beijing over boundaries in the South China Sea. China claims the waters almost in their entirety, including the exclusive economic zones of Vietnam and other countries in the region.
U.S. carriers frequently cross the energy-rich sea, which contains crucial routes for global trade. The warships are often shadowed by Chinese vessels.
On Wednesday, the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong and a group of escorting vessels sailed south through the sensitive Taiwan Strait, Taiwan's defence ministry said.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio)