SOUTH CHINA SEA Tensions Heighten As US Carrier Group Enters The Waters
Tensions have risen in an already tense South China Sea as a US Navy fleet led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt entered the hotly contested zone.
The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt was accompanied by USS Bunker Hill, a guided-missile cruiser, and two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, the USS Russell and the USS John Finn.
Commander of the carrier group, Rear Admiral Doug Verissimo, said, “After sailing through these waters throughout my 30-year career, it’s great to be in the South China Sea again, conducting routine operations, promoting freedom of the seas, and reassuring allies and partners”.
He added, “With two-thirds of the world’s trade travelling through this very important region, it is vital that we maintain our presence and continue to promote the rules-based order which has allowed us all to prosper”.
Beijing has long claimed sovereignty over the vast area, but five other neighbouring countries also lay claim to sections of the region, and the US says it rejects China’s claim to the waters.
One of those countries is the US ally Taiwan, and yesterday (Sunday 24), for the second day running, China send 15 aircraft including 12 fighter jets, into Taiwanese airspace, with Taiwan forces reportedly preparing missiles as a precaution
A spokesman for the US state department, Ned Price, commented, “The United States notes with concern the pattern of the ongoing People’s Republic of China attempts to intimidate its neighbours, including Taiwan”.
He continued, “We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected representatives”.
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