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US sends carriers to South China Sea during Chinese drills

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Two US plane carriers have been conducting workouts within the disputed South China Sea on Saturday, the US navy stated, as China additionally carried out navy drills which have been criticised by the Pentagon and neighbouring states.

China and the United States have accused one another of stoking stress within the strategic waterway at a time of strained relations over every thing from the brand new coronavirus to commerce to Hong Kong.

The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan have been finishing up operations and workouts within the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy stated in a press release.

It didn’t say precisely the place the workouts have been being performed within the South China Sea, which extends for some 1,500 km (900 miles) and 90% of which is claimed by China regardless of the protests of its neighbours.

“The purpose is to show an unambiguous signal to our partners and allies that we are committed to regional security and stability,” Rear Admiral George M. Wikoff was quoted as saying by the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the workouts.

Wikoff, commander of the strike group led by the Ronald Reagan, stated the workouts weren’t a response to these being performed by China, which the Pentagon criticised this week as “counter-productive to efforts at easing tensions and maintaining stability”.

China dismissed the US criticism of its drills on Friday and recommended the United States was to blame for growing tensions.

US carriers have lengthy carried out workouts within the Western Pacific, together with within the South China Sea, in accordance to the US navy. At one level lately, the United States had three carriers within the area.

China introduced final week it had scheduled 5 days of drills beginning July 1 close to the Paracel Islands, that are claimed by each Vietnam and China.

Vietnam and the Philippines have additionally criticised the deliberate Chinese drills, warning they might create stress within the area and influence Beijing’s relationship with its neighbours.

The United States accuses China of making an attempt to intimidate Asian neighbours who would possibly need to exploit its in depth oil and fuel reserves. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam additionally lay declare to elements of the South China Sea, by way of which about $three trillion of commerce passes annually.

The US assertion stated the naval workouts gave commanders the flexibleness and capabilities “that only the US Navy can command”.

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