From October 5 to 9 March in 2018, the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to visit Vietnam, Da Nang port. Professor Carlyle Thayer, a Vietnam expert, worked at the Defense Academy Australia answered the questions of the press about the event. Meaning of the of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson America visits Vietnam and the China’s reaction about aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to visit Vietnam
Question 1: some media of Vietnam that the upcoming Vietnam visit by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in Danang will be a large presence of U.S. military in Vietnam since the end of the 1975 war. Some other media described the visit as a significant sign of the strengthening military relations between the United States and Vietnam. Professor reviews about these statements?
Carlyle Thayer: carriers USS Carl Vinson had the crew consists of 6000 people. The vessel will be escorted by destroyers armed with guided missiles, the crew of about 370 people. Not all people had set foot on the port of Da Nang, but with the number of sailors and pilots work on two visits to Vietnam, then this is the largest military presence of the United States in Vietnam since the war of America in Vietnam or can say from Vietnam after the war.
Vietnam visit by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson portrayed the evolution in military cooperation between Vietnam and the United States. Vietnam officials were brought aboard the USS John c. Stennis in 2009 and the USS George Washington in 2010, to observe the activity on board when the two ships called at Sea. Aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson will dock at Da Nang Sa First carriers. it is the largest and most powerful of the United States, a port of Vietnam. This contrasts with a visit to the Philippines of the USS Carl Vinson recently because at that time, the ship anchored off the coast, 10 km from the coast.
Question 2: meaning of this visit to the United States and Vietnam relations and more importantly is what impact this event to the regional security and defense relations? In other words, according to the Professor, China will have a response as to how Beijing or no response?
Carlyle Thayer: defense cooperation framework between the US and Vietnam’s Protocol in 2011, set out five areas of cooperation. This text was added in 2015 with the Declaration of common vision of cooperative defense and partnership plan 3, currently 2018-2020. Basically, Vietnam is satisfied with the pace of the progress achieved on 5 areas.
The visit of the USS Carl Vinson has importance on two aspects. First, the United States naval presence low-key to reassure Southeast Asian countries that the United States under President Donald Trump did not abandon this region. On Monday, Vietnam supported the presence of the U.S. Navy in the South China Sea to the extent this presence contributes to peace and stability of the region. In other words, there is a consensus on the strategic interest in ensuring freedom of maritime and air circulation for ships and aircraft. Whether Beijing will react quickly to U.s. accusations, threatening the sovereignty and security of China, but the visit of the USS Carl Vinson will contribute to a stable military balance in South China Sea.
Question 3: according to the Professor, the purpose of the United States is nothing when the USS Carl Vinson to visit Vietnam? This event could increase the tension in the relations with Beijing or not, while China is the top trading partner of the United States?
Carlyle Thayer: the United States is a military powers in the world. The US Navy used the power to express your interests through the maintenance of the security of the sea lanes for both commercial vessels and warships. The visit of friendship of the warship is part of a diplomatic strategy. When the USS Carl Vinson to visit Danang, the crew will participate in a number of social and sports activities. This will create the atmosphere of goodwill on both sides. The USS Carl Vinson, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, is the symbol of American military power. The Vietnam naval officer will be to know more about the capabilities of this ship.
China also welcomes the American ships to visit in Hong Kong. China also has the defense cooperation with the United States. Both the US and China both have vital interests in ensuring for the maritime trade routes (SLOC) are safety and security. Any conflict will also do commercial and disorders that cause serious damage to both countries. To understand the reaction of China, we need to separate between the fanatical Chinese propaganda and the fact that both the United States and China are not able to increase tension.
Question 4: the Professor had the comment or note what to monitor the upcoming visit of the USS Carl Vinson?
Carlyle Thayer: In June the year 2017, the USS John McCain, a destroyer equipped with homing missiles, visited Danang and then is the first us warship to visit the port of Cam Ranh International. Two weeks later, the Chinese Navy warships also visited the port of Cam Ranh International. Also in the year 2017, Vietnam continued to welcome the Defense Minister of Russia and the United States to visit. The port of Cam Ranh International is open to all countries. Ships of the Singapore, French, Japanese, etc. visited this port.
I think on something in the future, Vietnam will welcome China’s warships. The basic problem is Vietnam continued the policy of maintaining balance between the big powers multipolar. To get the independence and autonomy of the strategy, Vietnam balanced relations with the major powers. In other words, if the powers maintain balance, then Vietnam does not fall into the orbit of the country. As such, Vietnam could continue independent role and contribute actively to regional security.
In that context, all the major powers were benefited. The visit of the USS Carl Vinson is not a sign of the Vietnam fell into the orbit of the United States against China. The visit shows the trust between each other, between the United States and Vietnam, has increased. The leadership in Hanoi to feel happy about new developments in maritime cooperation with the United States. also China is optimistic about the USS Carl Vinson visits Vietnam.
Question 5: Professor comment anything about the hunt destroyers for British submarine HMS Sutherland, on the road from Australia returned, again going through the East Coast? Affordable is to affirm the freedom of maritime traffic? Whether Beijing has objected or not?
Carlyle Thayer: Britain’s maritime powers and have the commitment to ensuring security in Southeast Asia in the framework of the 5th National Defense agreement (FPDA), i.e. with Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia. Britain was an ally of the United States of America and NATO under President Donald Trump, the importance of freedom of navigation is more advanced. Britain is also looking for new relationships after release from the European Union (Brexit), for example, to search the free-trade agreement with Australia. The United Kingdom also supported the respect for international law.
The deployment of the HMS Sutherland helped achieve many goals, such as the maritime power of England, reassure partners in the FPDA, expressing solidarity with the United States in ensuring freedom of navigation, add dimension in the relations between England and Australia and support a maritime order within the framework of international law.
Question 6: the action of England mean something for Vietnam and ASEAN countries, as recently announced at Singapore will try to reach an agreement with China in the construction of the code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC)?
Carlyle Thayer: the actions of Britain, along with France and the United States to help enforce international law, including the judgment of the International Court of arbitration in the Philippines favor China. The Court decided that in the East Coast, there is no island as defined by law and two of the entities which China occupied under sea level and therefore, have no territorial sea of 12 nautical miles. China, in principle, insist the country must ask permission when going into The 200 nautical miles exclusive economic. Because there is no legal definition according Island, in the South China Sea, it also has no entity has exclusive economic Zone 200 nautical miles.
The actions of Britain, along with the other maritime powers, reassure Vietnam and South East Asia, that China can not impose the «international law according to the characteristics of China» for the maritime routes in the South China Sea. If not a country would oppose China’s demands, then Beijing might argue that, according to international law, the international community has acknowledged the demands of China. Through the affirmative freedom of circulation, the UK would like to say that the international community does not recognize China’s demands. This also reinforces the ruling of the Arbitration Court.
This year, Singapore as the Chairman of ASEAN as well as coordinator of ASEAN in the relationship with China. Singapore has the responsibility of monitoring the reference between ASEAN and China about the COC currently go into a new phase of additional space in the framework of the COC. His actions support for Singapore in negotiating with China. Chinese media will have the «usual» protest against British warships. But China will not hinder the HMS Sutherland went through the East Coast.
Video Clip Super powerful nuclear aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to visit Vietnam