HANOI – The Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Izumo helicopter carrier and a destroyer arrived at Vietnam’s strategic Cam Ranh International Port on Friday in a move seen as highlighting growing the two countries ties amid Chinese moves in the disputed South China Sea.
The MSDF ships’ visit to the key port near the disputed Spratly and the Parcel island chains in the South China Sea comes amid growing defense cooperation between Tokyo and Hanoi. Observers say is was also intended to aid in deterring China’s continued militarization of the waterway.
The Izumo anchored in Cam Ranh Bay for the second time, after its first visit two years ago.
The helicopter carrier and the Murasame destroyer have been engaging in activities in the Indo-Pacific region, including joint military exercises with the U.S. earlier in the week, according to the Defense Ministry.