On Sunday, the US Defense Department said two US aircraft carriers have entered the disputed South China Sea for training, in what a senior commander said was aimed at pleasing allies and showing determination to “contain malign influence”.
The disputed waters are one of many areas of tension between the United States and China, which claims a large part of it and has set up military bases on artificial islands.
US Navy ships routinely pass near these islands to defy China’s claims to sovereignty, much to the chagrin of Beijing.
The US Department of Defense said in a statement that the two carriers will conduct exercises that include anti-submarine warfare, air warfare, and naval interception operations to enhance combat readiness.
The Defense Ministry added, without elaborating, that the exercises will be conducted in accordance with international laws of international waters.
News of the new US operation coincides with Taiwan’s announcement of the Chinese Air Force’s latest mass incursion into the Air Defense Identification Zone, in an area near the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands at the northern end of the North Sea in southern China.
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