Washington/Beijing: The US Navy reported that two US aircraft carriers, USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt, carried out war drills in the South China Sea. Also, reports reveal that a US destroyer separately performed naval exercises with Japan. The US drills are believed to be a warning to China considering the recent talks between the senior leaders of the two countries, Beijing’s repeated intrusions into the Pacific nations and its activities with regard to Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The US Navy’s Pacific Fleet informed that two aircraft carriers launched dual-carrier flight drills in the Philippine Sea, which is a part of the South China Sea, on the 21st and 22nd of the month. In its statement, the Pacific Fleet said that the drills showcased US capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups in close proximity. The USS Roosevelt, the USS Nimitz and other ships from the two strike groups practised air defence drills, sea surveillance, replenishments at sea, defence air combat training, long-range strikes, coordinated manoeuvres and other exercises, the naval statement said.
Two weeks ago, the US had simultaneously deployed three aircraft carriers to the Indo-Pacific. Over 30 ships, more than 150 fighter jets, and approximately 20,000 soldiers, all part of the strike group along with the aircraft carriers had entered the region. Besides, the US Department of Defense did not inform the deployment period for the aircraft carriers in the area. Sources in the Pentagon said three aircraft carriers were deployed in the Indo-Pacific for the first time in the past three years.
On the one hand, as two US aircraft carriers performed dual-carrier flight drills in the Philippine Sea, a US destroyer carried out joint naval exercises with Japan. On June 23, the USS Gabrielle Gifford and JS Kashima executed joint naval drills, the US Navy informed. The USS Gabrielle Giffords is part of Destroyer Squadron Seven operating in the US 7th Fleet area of operations. Also, the exercise is the third such conducted between US-Japan forces in the last two months.
Meanwhile, after US aircraft carrier drills, Taiwan announced to send its marines unit to the South China Sea near the Pratas Islands. Sources in Taiwan stated that the deployment has been made on the sidelines of Taipei’s threat against China’s constant intrusion into its limits and repeated military drills simulating an invasion on the island.
The exercises that concluded recently, make clear two US aircraft carriers of the three deployed to the South China Sea are currently positioned close to the Chinese waters. The presence of US warships near China’s maritime borders for over two weeks as also the joint US-Japan war exercises are nothing but part of US President Donald Trump’s pressure tactics against China over the Coronavirus.
China has ratcheted up activities in the South China Sea for the past few months. The country is involved continuously in bullying activities such as sinking ships of neighbouring nations, intruding into their marine limits and threatening them with military power. The new National Security Law imposed in Hong Kong to gain complete control over the city and threats of attacking Taiwan have only added to it. Furthermore, reports state China is attempting to impose an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the region for dominance in the South China Sea. The events from the past few days appear to be US advances to curb the ongoing aggressive Chinese activities in the region.