Speed Reads

A historic visit

A U.S. aircraft carrier is back in Vietnam for the first time since the war ended

An American aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, arrived in Vietnam on Monday, becoming the first U.S. ship of its kind to visit the country since the close of the Vietnam War.

The Vinson's arrival at the port of Danang has been cast by Washington as a major point of progress for normalized relations between the United States and Vietnam. "The visit marks an enormously significant milestone in our bilateral relations and demonstrates U.S. support for a strong, prosperous, and independent Vietnam," said U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink, describing the two nations as changing from "former enemies to close partners."

But China is unlikely to see the Vinson's route in such friendly light. The carrier and its two escort ships together have a crew of 6,000 U.S. troops whose deployment in the disputed waters of the South China Sea is perceived by Beijing as a statement of American hegemony.