Three Chinese navy ships will make their first port call this weekend at the Vietnam’s strategic Cam Ranh Bay, coming as the countries are locked in a territorial dispute in the South China Sea.
An official in Khanh Hoa province where bay is located said the four-day port call starting Saturday by the three ships carrying 750 sailors will include exchanges with the Vietnamese navy and meetings with provincial leaders.
The visit comes weeks after two U.S. Navy ships paid a first visit to Cam Ranh since the countries normalized relations 21 years ago.
Cam Ranh Bay served as a U.S. air and naval base during the Vietnam War. It was taken over by the former Soviet Union in 1979 then returned to Hanoi in 2002.