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Relations between the two nations have become increasingly strained over recent weeks following the outbreak of coronavirus and China’s dominance in the South China Sea. But after a war of words between the two countries, Washington is showing off its military might.
On Tuesday, US Navy aircraft and ships with the Reagan Carrier Strike Group conducted the military drill over the Philippine Sea.
The demo featured formation flybys, high-speed aerial turns, rocket shoots and a five-inch gun shoot from guided-missile cruiser Antietam, according to the Reagan CSG’s Facebook page.
Last week, the Reagan CSG joined forces with the amphibious assault ship America and its expeditionary strike group, including the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, in the region.
This was to conduct US 7th Fleet operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
According to Navy Times, Exercise Valiant Shield features around 100 aircrafts and 11,000 personnel from the Navy, Air Force, Army and Marine Corps.
Rear Admiral Fred Kacher, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 7, said: “Expeditionary Strike Force operations provide us an opportunity to build a team of teams to execute and enhance command and control on integrated forces in a complex maritime environment.
“Combining Navy and Marine Corps capabilities of the America Expeditionary Strike Group with the air power of this superbly led carrier strike group creates a more lethal and flexible force than ether of our strike groups could ever be alone.”
This latest operation comes after China has continued to assert its dominance in the South China Sea region, sparking fears of a World War 3 outbreak.
The Communist nation has claimed almost all of the 1.3 million square mile region as its sovereign territory.
According to reports, China has deployed fighter jets and at least one bomber, the H-6J, to the Paracel Islands.
Since seizing the Paracels in 1974, China has built military installations on the islands.
Earlier this month, Beijing warplanes violated the median line across the narrow strait which separates the mainland from Taiwan almost 40 times.
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This week, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the US is the “biggest threat to the peace and stability of the South China Sea”
“The international community and regional countries must be highly vigilant and resolutely oppose the sinister plot of some US warmongers to sow chaos in the South China Sea and East Asia,” Mr Wang said.
Despite having no claim over any part of the region, Washington has increased its military presence as global tensions rise.
At the beginning of September, Washington sent a chilling warning to China after practicing a hostile take down in the contested region.
Colonel Michael Nakonieczny, commanding officer of the 31st MEU, said: “The Commandant of the Marine Corps gave specific instruction in his planning guidance to be first on the scene, first to help, first to contain a brewing crisis and if required to do so, first to fight.
“The tactical discipline and aggressive action displayed this weekend by the sailors and Marines… demonstrates to our Commandant, our allies and partners, and our adversaries that we are prepared to do just that.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has vocally condemned China’s presence in the region.
Earlier this year, he urged the other nations to counter against Beijing’s dominance.
Writing on Twitter, Mr Pompeo said: “The United States’ policy is crystal clear: the South China Sea is not China’s maritime empire.
“If Beijing violates international law and free nations do nothing, history shows the CCP will simply take more territory.
“China Sea disputes must be resolved through international law.”
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