US helps Vietnam strengthen maritime security
By Thanh Tam  April 28, 2022 | 08:51 pm PT
A Hamilton-class patrol boat gifted by the U.S. to the Vietnam Coast Guard in 2017. Photo by Vietnam Coast Guard
The U.S. has handed over to the Vietnamese Coast Guard a fourth center for training personnel and maintaining ships and a drone.
Robert Pope, director of the cooperative threat reduction program run by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), a combat support agency at the U.S. Department of Defense for countering weapons of mass destruction, said the handover ceremony was held in the northern port city Hai Phong.
Speaking to reporters in Hanoi Thursday he said the center is capable of maintaining bigger vessels, allowing them to operate longer and more frequently at sea.
“That would help Vietnam better monitor the country’s waters to ensure freedom of navigation and commerce.”
The U.S. defense attache to Vietnam, Colonel Thomas Stevenson, said at the training centers the U.S. has installed simulators for Vietnamese sailors to improve their ability to sail ships to better serve their patrolling activities and protecting their country’s sovereignty.
The U.S. has also delivered to Vietnam 24 Metal Shark high-speed patrol boats and two Hamilton-class patrol boats, and is considering delivering a third, he said.
Department of Defense said in June that Boeing subsidiary Insitu had received an order for six drones from Vietnam.
Vietnam and the U.S., formerly bitter foes, normalized relations in 1995.
The U.S. fully lifted a ban on the sale of lethal arms to Vietnam during President Barack Obama’s visit in 2016.
In 2018 it sent aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to Da Nang, marking its biggest military presence in Vietnam since the Vietnam War ended in 1975.
Speaking to the media in Hanoi on April 20, U.S. ambassador to Vietnam, Marc Knapper, said his country is committed to working with Vietnam to strengthen its maritime security and maritime domain awareness capabilities.
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