Two American aircraft carriers sailed to the South China Sea on Saturday for what Navy officials described as a freedom-of-navigation operation while China’s military conducts exercises nearby.
The carriers — the Ronald Reagan and the Nimitz — deployed “in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” according to a statement by the Navy’s Seventh Fleet. It said that the ships, which were accompanied by warships and aircraft, were conducting exercises to improve air defense and long-range missile strikes in “a rapidly evolving area of operations.”[…]
The Chinese government had no immediate public reaction to the announcement about the two American carriers, but Beijing is most unlikely to buy the idea that the move was just a coincidence. A smaller U.S. Navy operation in the South China Sea over recent days had already drawn ire from China.
“This provocative conduct by the United States gravely violates the relevant international laws and rules, and seriously violates Chinese sovereignty and security interests,” Senior Col. Li Huamin, a spokesman of the Chinese military Southern Theater Command, said after the U.S.S. Gabrielle Giffords, a littoral combat ship, conducted operations last week in the South China Sea, according to Global Times, a Beijing newspaper. “This is deliberately increasing security risks in the region and could very easily spark an unforeseen incident.” Läs artikel