US Navy aircraft carrier enters South China Sea
News Desk || risingbd.com
A US aircraft carrier group led by the USS Ronald Reagan has entered the South China Sea as part of a routine mission, the US Navy said, at a time of rising tensions between Washington and Beijing, which claims most of the disputed waterway.
The carrier is being accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh and the guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey, the US Navy said on Tuesday (June 15).
China frequently objects to US military missions in the South China Sea, saying they do not help promote peace or stability, and the latest mission comes after China condemned the Group of Seven (G7) nations for a statement criticising Beijing over a range of issues.
“While in the South China Sea, the strike group is conducting maritime security operations, which include flight operations with fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, maritime strike exercises, and coordinated tactical training between surface and air units,” the US Navy said.
“Carrier operations in the South China Sea are part of the US Navy’s routine presence in the Indo-Pacific.”
China has ramped up its military presence in the South China Sea in recent years, including building artificial islands and air bases, where it has installed missile systems and other equipment.
The South China Sea has become one of many flashpoints in the testy relationship between China and the US, with Washington rejecting what it calls unlawful territorial claims by Beijing in the resource-rich waters, which are also claimed by Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia.
In a show of force against the Chinese claims, US warships have passed through the South China Sea with increasing frequency in recent years, invoking freedom of navigation rights._Al Jazeera