US Defence Secretary Mark Esper and Vietnamese Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich meet in Hanoi on November 20, 2019. Photo: AP

US gifts ship to Vietnam to boost patrols in disputed South China Sea

  • US Defence Secretary Mark Esper said the gift reflected a strengthening of US-Vietnam ties
  • He also vowed Washington would continue conducting freedom of navigation operations in the disputed waterway
Topic |   South China Sea

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US Defence Secretary Mark Esper and Vietnamese Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich meet in Hanoi on November 20, 2019. Photo: AP
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