HANOI, Oct 1 (dpa): British Royal Navy ship HMS Richmond docked in central Vietnam on Friday as part of a four-day visit that aims to display Britain's commitment to maritime security in the Indo-Pacific, the British embassy in Hanoi said in a statement on Friday.
On Friday morning, the HMS Richmond docked at Cam Ranh international port, marking the third time a British Royal Navy ship has docked in Vietnam and the beginning of a visit focusing on "bilateral cooperation activities."
"HMS Richmond's visit reaffirms the UK's Indo-Pacific tilt and our commitment towards expanding defence relationships with key partners in the region," British Ambassador to Vietnam Gareth Ward said in a statement.
The move comes mere weeks after the announcement of a new alliance between Britain, the United States and Australia, known as AUKUS, which will see Canberra acquire nuclear-powered submarines from the US as part of efforts to counter China’s influence in the South China Sea.
Beijing claims almost all of the South China Sea as its territory and has built artificial islands with military-capable facilities over reefs and outcrops in the area, which are also claimed in part by Vietnam.
In its defence, Beijing says it has a historical claim to sovereignty over vast swathes of the resource-rich waterway, yet both Vietnam and the US say these claims have no basis in international law.
The US has also sent warships to Vietnam on two occasions since the end of the Vietnam War and is increasing its freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea. - dpa