Two US aircraft carriers conduct drills in disputed South China Sea
WASHINGTON (US) – The US navy said its two aircraft carriers were engaged in exercises in the disputed South China Sea on Saturday. This comes amid China conducting military drills, which have been criticised by the Pentagon and neighbouring countries.
The US and China blame each other for fomenting trouble in the region. The relations between both countries were strained over the origin of the pandemic and the new security law in Hong Kong.
In a statement, the navy said the USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were engaged in operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
However, the navy did not mention the exact location where the exercises were being held. The South China Sea extends for some 1,500 km (900 miles) and most of it is claimed by China, raising the hackles of neighbouring states.
“The purpose is to show an unambiguous signal to our partners and allies that we are committed to regional security and stability,” the Wall Street Journal quoted Rear Admiral George M. Wikoff as saying.
Wikoff, who is the commander of the strike group led by USS Ronald Reagan, said the drills were not a response to those being conducted by China.
Blaming the US for escalating tension in the region, China rebuffed Washington’s criticism of its military manoeuvres in the South China Sea.
Last week, China announced it had military drills stretching over five days beginning July 1 near the Paracel Islands claimed by both Beijing and Hanoi.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field