IslamNews – Two US carrier groups launched joint exercises in the South China Sea days after a US warship sailed near Chinese-controlled islands in the disputed waters that have emerged as another flashpoint in strained Sino-US relations.
The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group and the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group “conducted a multitude of exercises aimed at increasing interoperability between assets as well as command and control capabilities”, the US Navy said on Tuesday, marking the first dual-carrier operations in the busy waterway since July 2020.
“We are committed to ensuring the lawful use of the sea that all nations enjoy under international law,” Rear Admiral Jim Kirk, commander of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, said in a statement.
Beijing’s foreign ministry responded to the deployment saying it will take “necessary measures to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and security”.
The exercise comes days after China condemned the sailing of the USS John S McCain destroyer near the Chinese-controlled Paracel Islands in what the US calls a “freedom of navigation operation” – the first such mission by the US navy since President Joe Biden took office.
The busy waterway, through which as much as $5.3 trillion in global trade passes annually, is one of a number of flashpoints in the US-China relationship.