Soviets shift Viet base to more strategic point

The Soviet Union is shifting its military operations in Vietnam from Da Nang to the former US military base at Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam, posing threats to sea lanes and disrupting some civilian air traffic, Western diplomatic sources say. Cam Ranh Bay, on the coast 180 miles north of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) , is an isolated area and has no civilian traffic, unlike Da Nang.

The diplomatic sources said the operation of Soviet aircraft from Cam Ranh Bay means Russian heavy bombers are within two hours of the Strait of Malacca, a critical chokepoint for Asian oil routes, and even closer to the large US air and naval installations on Luzon, the main Philippine island.

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