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In a veiled threat to China US Naval aircraft carrier docks at a Vietnamese Port

Nearly four decades after the United States faced the first military defeat, a US naval aircraft carrier docked at the Vietnamís central coastal city of Danang, sending a warning signal to neighboring China that its claim of sovereignty over the disputed islands in South China Sea will remain a question mark

The visit by the USS Carl Vinson commencing on March fifth, accompanied by a cruiser and a destroyer, brings more than 6,000 crew members to the central coastal city of Danang, the largest such US military presence in Vietnam since the Southeast Asian nation was unified under Communist leadership after the war ended in 1975.

The visit comes at a time when China is increasing its military buildup in the Parcel islands and seven artificial islands in the Spratly in maritime territory also claimed by Vietnam. China claims most of the South China Sea and has challenged traditional US naval supremacy in the western Pacific.

During the stay at the Vietnamese port the program includes technical exchanges, sports matches and other community activities, according to Vietnamese foreign ministry spokeswoman  marking fine-tuning of relations between former foes.

The United States normalized relations with Vietnam in 1995 and lifted an arms embargo in 2016, and the two former adversaries have steadily improved bilateral relations in all areas, including trade, investment and security.

American warships continue sailing without prior notice close to China-occupied islands and atolls, an aggressive way of signalling to Beijing that it does not recognize its sovereignty over those areas.

Vietnam, while traditionally wary of its huge northern neighbor, shares Chinaís system of single-party Communist rule and intolerance for political dissent.

Economic relations with the United States in recent years have served as a counterbalance to Vietnamís political affinity with China.

ďThe United States now is a very important trading partner with Vietnam and it is the most important destination of Vietnamís exports, In terms of security, both countries certainly share substantial common interest in the containment of China in view of the territorial dispute between China and Vietnam.Ē

The first US Marines arrived in Danang in 1965, marking the beginning of large-scale American involvement in the war, which ended in 1975 with the communist Northís victory, reunifying the country. Some 58,000 American soldiers and an estimated 3 million Vietnamese were killed in the war.

Danang, which was a major US military base during the war, is now Vietnamís third-largest city and is in the midst of a construction boom as dozens of resorts and hotels pop up along its scenic coastline.

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