Rear Admiral Murray Joey Tynch, Commander of the US Navy’s Logistics Group Western Pacific has said he was “pleased” that four Vietnamese liaison officers joined the 17th annual Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) exercise.
Multinational Coast Guardsmen participate in Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) 2018 . Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Micah Blechner
“I’m very pleased that Vietnam has four liaison officers here, taking place in this first one. Two from the Navy and two from the Coast Guard. So they’re integrated here and working with us, and we’re certainly very glad to have them aboard the process,” he said in response to a question by Hanoitimes
during a teleconference on August 30.
SEACAT commenced August 27 in Singapore with the participation of sailors and coast guardsmen from nine partner nations namely Bangladesh, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, U.S., Thailand and Vietnam.
The exercise focuses on increasing maritime domain awareness through collaborative and coordinated sharing of information.
“As SEACAT began, it was focused on counterterrorism, but over time, over the years it has evolved now, and right now we’ve broadened the scope for the cooperation and training as the main objectives. That’s what the vision of the exercise is,” said Rear Adm. Joey Tynch.
“SEACAT demonstrates the combined commitment of navies, coast guards, law enforcement and other interagency organizations from the U.S. and ASEAN to work side-by-side in ensuring a transparent and inclusive information-sharing architecture where all partner nations, large and small, contribute to maritime domain awareness,” he added.
Also at the teleconference, Andrea Thompson, Under Secretary of the State Department in charge of Arms Control and International Security, pointed out the advances in the US-Vietnam defense ties, including President Trump’s visit to Vietnam in November 2017 and Secretary of Defense Mattis in January. In March the Carl Vinson made a port call to Da Nang, marking the first visit by a U.S. aircraft carrier in more than 40 years.
Thompson said the history of the U.S. security relationship with Vietnam has grown rapidly in recent years, and “we share a common vision for the future and our partnership.”
Recalling her trip to Vietnam in mid-August, she said the most memorable portion of that trip was visit to a village in the central province of Quang Tri where unexploded ordnance was being removed. “For the first year in that village there had been no UXO-related deaths. That’s a telling indicator of the partnership and how far we’ve come in our relationship.”