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January 25, 2018

CHANGE: U.S. aircraft carrier to visit Vietnam in post-war first.

The proposed visit is set for March at the central port of Danang, Vietnam’s defence ministry said in a statement. Such a visit by a U.S. aircraft carrier could bring the most U.S. forces to Vietnam since the conflict ended in 1975.

Mattis cheered the planned port visit during talks with Nguyen Phu Trong, the general secretary of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam.

“Thank you for the increasing partnership, with our aircraft carrier coming into Danang here in March,” Mattis said.

Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, confirmed the carrier visit was discussed by Mattis and Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich, and Vietnam’s defence ministry was seeking final approvals from national leaders.

“We expect it will be approved,” Davis said.

The arrival of a U.S. aircraft carrier in Vietnam will be welcomed by an emerging network of countries that are nervously eyeing China’s military rise, particularly its assertive stance and island-building activities in the South China Sea.

As I wrote earlier today, if Beijing doesn’t like these developments, well, tough — they have no one to blame but themselves.