According to Reuters, Vietnam has won the pledge of a visit from a U.S. aircraft carrier and deeper defense cooperation from the U.S.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Vietnamese counterpart Ngo Xuan Lich. Photo: Reuters
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Vietnamese counterpart Ngo Xuan Lich in Washington on Aug 8th that a strong defense relationship was based on common interests that included freedom of navigation in the disputed South China Sea, which Vietnam calls the East Sea.
"The Secretary welcomed Vietnam's engagement and growing leadership in the Asia-Pacific region," a statement from the Pentagon said.
The defense ministers agreed on a visit by a U.S. aircraft carrier to Vietnam next year - the first such visit since the Vietnam War ended in 1975. President Donald Trump discussed the possibility of a carrier visit with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc when they met at the White House in May.
The agreement was consistent with Vietnam's diplomatic strategy of being open to all countries, said Ha Hoang Hop, a Vietnamese political analyst who has advised the government. “Vietnam is not willing to compromise on issues of sovereignty and also makes its own preparations," he said.
Australia, Japan and the U.S. urged Southeast Asia and China on Monday to ensure that a South China Sea code of conduct they have committed to draw up would be legally binding and said they strongly opposed "coercive unilateral actions".
US – Vietnam relationship have improved remarkably in recent times.