Updated on 2022-07-05 at 4:32 pm ET

USS Ronald Reagan is scheduled to visit Vietnam in late July, the first U.S. aircraft carrier to dock at the port in more than a year, two local sources said. The last visit to the USS Theodore Roosevelt was in March 2020 when all 5,000 crew had to be tested for COVID-19 after visiting Danang.

The supercarrier was training at sea in the Philippines over the weekend after leaving Guam in late June. Vietnam is now open to foreign visitors as the government has adopted a “live with COVID” policy.

Lieutenant Cmdr. David Levy, of US Pacific Fleet Public Affairs, declined to comment on the planned port call, telling Radio Free Asia affiliated with BenarNews that “as a matter of policy, we are not discussing future operations.” If confirmed, it would be only the third U.S. Navy aircraft carrier to visit the country since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.

The first carrier to make a port call in Vietnam in March 2018 was the USS Carl Vinson. The USS Abraham Lincoln’s planned visit in May was discussed but did not materialize. Abraham Lincoln is now taking part in a biennial RIM of the Pacific (RIMPAC) naval exercise near Hawaii.

USS Ronald Reagan, named after the 40th U.S. president, is a Nimitz-class, nuclear-powered supercarrier, homeported to Yokosuka, Japan.

Kovid also appeared in March 2020 when the Yokosuka naval base, home to the U.S. 7th Fleet in the Western Pacific, was forced to lockdown.

By the end of March 2020, the U.S. Navy had reported 134 personnel infected with covid without naming their specific ships.

An F / A-18F Super Hornet was launched into the Philippine Sea in March 2020 from the flight deck of US Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. [U.S. Navy]

‘Free and open Indo-Pacific’

Shipping and maritime sources close to the Vietnamese navy said the USS Ronald Reagan will make a five-day visit to Danang in central Vietnam, carrying 90 aircraft with F / A-18E super hornets and state-of-the-art missile systems. Two weeks. “

All visits to foreign warships are controlled by the Vietnamese military which does not want to be seen as a side of any world power. In recent years, however, former enemies Hanoi and Washington have made progress toward a strategic partnership between China’s firm moves in the South China Sea over which Vietnam and five other nations make rival regional claims.

Since the U.S. lifted its arms embargo on Vietnam during the Obama administration in 2016, Vietnam has begun purchasing U.S. military hardware, including ships, for its growing Coast Guard force.

The United States has accused China of militarizing the seas, and regularly sends naval ships to carry out naval operations (FONOP) to counter mass protests from Beijing.

In June 2016, Ronald Reagan was deployed to the region in a mission mainly to support the lawsuit, before the Philippine International Court of Justice requested a landmark ruling against China’s unrelenting and illegal claims in the South China Sea.

In the latest developments, the world’s largest naval exercise, led by the United States, RIMPAC 2022, is set to begin on August 4 to demonstrate the maritime strength of the US and allied nations.

The five countries bordering the South China Sea – Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore – are among the 26 participating nations with 25,000 employees.

China Daily, China’s official English-language mouthpiece, has published a hateful editorial calling the “naval parade” a “threat show.”

The goal of this political coup is to ensure an ‘Indo-Pacific’ that is truly ‘free and free’ and not subject to US dictatorship, “it said.

The paper warns that “with the rise of its national strength, China has developed the ability to defend its core interests, sovereignty and territorial integrity in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.”

On June 17, China launched the third aircraft carrier, which was developed and built entirely in the country. The Fujian is an 80,000-ton ship equipped with high-tech equipment such as electromagnetic catapults to launch aircraft. It is the first aircraft carrier to be fully designed and built in China.

The first carrier, Lioning, was purchased and rebuilt from Ukraine. The second, Shandong, was based on Liaoning’s design.

China now has three carriers, compared to 11 in the United States, and China’s defense ministry says the country will develop more aircraft carriers “in line with national security needs.”

The story has been updated to correct the name of China’s third aircraft carrier.