Chinese military personnel will participate in activities with the Vietnamese navy and will also meet with Hanoi's provincial leaders. This will be the last stop for the Chinese fleet on their way home after visiting Myanmar, Malaysia and Cambodia, according to Senior Colonel Wang Hongli, commander of the task force.
This visit is remarkable, considering it falls in a time of tensions, shifting alliances and war memorials.
The Chinese fleet came to dock only a month after the visit of the first US ship to enter the same port since the Vietnam War: on October 2, the USS John S. McCain and the USS Frank Cable floated into Cam Ranh Bay to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations in 1995.
The US and its allies, despite having no territorial claims in the region, have set up so-called "freedom of navigation" patrols, which China has repeatedly called "illegal" and "provocative."
The latest patrol happened right after the leader of Philippines, another recent Chinese rival in the South China Sea dispute, announced his country's re-alignment with China's "ideological flow" earlier this week.
Wang pointed out the China and Vietnam's navies have increased their cooperation in recent years, including conducting joint exercises and joint patrols.