Two U.S. aircraft carrier groups conducted joint exercises in the South China Sea, the Navy said in a statement Tuesday.
The Navy said that the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group and the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group “conducted a multitude of exercises aimed at increasing interoperability between assets as well as command and control capabilities,” according to Reuters. The activity reportedly marked the first operations by two U.S. carriers in the region in about seven months.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the U.S. move constituted a deliberate “show of force” and undermined stability in the region.
“China will continue to take necessary measures to firmly safeguard national sovereignty and security and work with countries in the region to firmly safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea,” he said, according to the news service.
U.S. officials have accused Beijing of seeking to militarize the waterway and ignoring contradictory claims from smaller nations such as Malaysia and Vietnam.
“We are committed to ensuring the lawful use of the sea that all nations enjoy under international law,” Nimitz Carrier Strike Group commander Rear Admiral Jim Kirk said in a statement, according to Reuters.
Late last week, the USS John McCain sailed close to the Paracel Islands, a disputed archipelago in the South China Sea, in the first freedom of navigation operation since President Biden took office. The U.S. also sailed U.S. warships through the Taiwan Strait last week for the first time under the Biden’s presidency, sparking condemnation from Beijing. (Click to Source)