U.S., Vietnam joint naval activities in Danang

USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93)July 16, 2011. The United States and Vietnam launched a series of joint naval exchanges on Friday in the latest sign of warming ties.

At the annual Shangri-La Dialogue Asian security meeting in Singapore last month, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the U.S. military would be “increasing its port calls, naval engagements, and multilateral training efforts” in the region to “help build partner capacity to address regional challenges.”

This year’s Vietnam activities, held in the port city of Danang, include two Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyers, the USS Chung-Hoon and USS Preble, as well as a rescue and salvage ship.

Last year’s activities involved the USS John S. McCain, also an Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer.

The activities will feature an increased number of noncombat activities, such as search-and-rescue missions and navigation training, as well as some cultural and trust-building exercises, including community-service projects.

“We’ve had a presence in the Western Pacific and the South China Sea for 50 to 60 years, even going back before World War II,”’ Rear Adm. Tom Carney, who is leading the naval exchange, told reporters in Danang, according to the Associated Press. “We have no intention of departing from that kind of activity.”

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