US & Vietnam International Relations with China & Japan

A US aircraft carrier group cruised through the disputed South China Sea on  Saturday in a show of power in waters that have become a focal point of  Washington’s strategic rivalry with Beijing.

Vietnamese security and government officials were flown on to the  nuclear-powered USS George Washington, underlining the burgeoning military relationship between the former enemies. A number of journalists were also  invited to witness the display of maritime might in the oil-rich waters, which  are home to islands disputed between China and the other smaller Asian nations  facing the sea.

The visit is likely to reassure Vietnam and the Philippines of American  support but could annoy China, whose growing economic and naval strength is  leading to a greater assertiveness in pressing its claims there.

The United States is building closer economic and military alliances with  Vietnam and other nations in the region as part of a pivot away from the Middle  East to Asia, a shift in large part meant to counter rising Chinese influence.

Beijing has pledged it will not resort to force to resolve the lingering maritime territorial disputes

The mission came a day after Beijing  staged military exercises near islands in the nearby East China Sea it  disputes with US ally Japan. Those tensions have flared in recent days.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, where the US says it has a  national interest in ensuring freedom of navigation in an area crossed by vital  shipping lanes. Vietnam, the Philippines and several other Asian nations also  claim parts of the sea. The disputes attracted little international interest  until the late 1990s, when surveys indicated possible large oil reserves.  American rivalry with China has given the disputes an extra dimension in recent  years.

The trip by the George Washington off the coast of Vietnam is its third in  as many years. A second aircraft carrier, the USS John C. Stennis, has also  conducting operations in the western Pacific region recently, according to the  US Pacific Fleet.

Capt. Gregory Fenton said the mission was aimed in part at improving  relations with Vietnam and ensuring the US had free passage in the South China  Sea.

China’s military build-up, including the launch of its own carrier last year  and rapid development of ballistic missiles and cyber warfare capabilities,  could potentially crimp the US forces’ freedom to operate in the waters. The  United States doesn’t publicly take sides in the territorial disputes among  China and its neighbours

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About GREGinSD

A Generation X|Y'er that resides in beautiful San Diego, Ca.
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