For the first time since 2014, the US Navy has sent two aircraft carrier groups into the South China Sea as China conducts military exercises.
The two aircraft, USS Ronald Reagan and USS Nimitz, were conducting dual-carrier exercises and operations in the South China Sea to support an open and free Indo-Pacific, according to the statement released by the US Navy on June 27.
The People's Liberation Army of China is conducting a drill around the Paracel Islands that will last for five days. Both the Philippines and Vietnam have protested against China's military exercises. The Washington has criticized the protest as counterproductive to easing the tension in the region, as reported by NewsWeek.
The exercises of China on Paracel would destabilize the situations further, according to a statement released by the Pentagon on July 2. The Pentagon also stated that the military exercises had violated the commitments that the Chinese had written under an agreement with other neighboring countries.
The drills that are done by the United States armed forces and the Chinese military simultaneously in the Paracel Islands are labeled to be the most high profile to date. It is the most high profile out of the series of operations that are all held in close quarters as the United States and China fight for dominance in the Asia-Pacific theater.
Back in April, the United States sent warships into the South China Sea numerous times. It was after the Chinese have harassed vessels from Malaysia and Vietnam for fishing and oil prospecting.
Since June 28, the carriers that were involved in the South China Sea military exercises have been working together in the Philippine Sea, according to Financial Times.
The United States military aircraft and the Chinese ships have followed each other frequently in the South China Sea, the Philippine Sea, and the Bashi Channel which connects it to the Pacific.
Back on June 24, the Chinese warplane flew near a US military tanker and the surveillance aircraft of Taiwan, according to the Taiwanese military exerts and different sources.
The military analysts stated that the surveillance aircraft was refueling between flights to observe a Chinese submarine near Pratas, which is a South China Sea atoll that his held by Taiwan.
On July 1, the Chinese military exercises in the islands began. The US surveillance ship and the US aircraft have been observing the operations. China and the United States have agreements to make sure that both countries will avoid incidents at sea and in the air.
Under the agreement, the United States was obligated to keep out of the area in which China is doing their military exercises.
The spokesman of the Seventh Fleet, Lt. Joe Keiley, stated that the military operations are connected to the US commitments that states all nations have the right to sail, fly and operate as long as the international law allows it.
According to Capt. Chang of China, the United States was aiming to demonstrate its naval capabilities to China. He said that the Chinese public has been enthusing how their country has entered a dual carrier area after the second carrier started service last year.
The US Navy is targeting to shake the confidence of China by showing the Chinese that only the US military can stage these kinds of military operations.
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