US naval ship makes port call in Vietnam

A US Navy vessel docked at the Saigon port in Ho Chi Minh City at noon Mar. 29 for a five-day visit aimed at boosting bilateral relations between Vietnam and the US.

The USS Gary (FFG 51) marked the third visit by a US military vessel to Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War, following the USS Vandegrift’s visit to Ho Chi Minh City in November 2003 and the USS Curtis Wilbur’s visit to Da Nang in July 2004.

The port calls “underscore the seriousness of efforts by Vietnam and the US to develop and broaden our bilateral relationship,” said Michael Marine, US Ambassador to Vietnam at a media briefing on the deck of the ship.

Friends and partners

He said this year marks the tenth anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and the US, and “the USS Gary’s visit is particularly symbolic and appropriate way to celebrate this important bilateral relationship – one that emphatically states that the US and Vietnam are friends and partners.”

“I think the most important thing for both of our nations and peoples to do is to continue to look forward, not backward,” Ambassador Marine said.

“We cannot forget our past, but certainly we don’t want to relive it, and we have a much brighter future to live.”

Captain of the ship and his crew paid a floral tribute to late President Ho Chi Minh at his monument in HCM City's downtown. They paid courtesy visits to leaders of the municipal People's Committee and commanders of the Military Zone 7 and the Naval Force.

During the visit, the guided missile frigate’s (FFG’s) crew of 21 officers and 203 enlisted personnel are planning to take part in friendly sports games with trainees of the Naval Technical School of the Viet Nam People's Army, and visit some cultural and historical relics in the city.

More ships to come

Mr. Marine also said he expects more US ships to come to Vietnam in the time to come to explore other possible ports in Vietnam.

Reported by Trung Binh – Translated by Hieu Trung
Story from Thanh Nien News
Published: 29 March, 2005, 21:00:17 (GMT+7)
Copyright Thanh Nien News