The United States has exasperated China by sending two aircraft carriers to the South China Sea for the first time in six years, CNN reports. It is no coincidence that the maneuver of the American fleet comes close to a controversial archipelago just after a Chinese exercise. China considers much of the South China Sea and the islands in it as its territory.
The U.S. fleet reports in a statement that the two carriers the USS Nimitz and the USS Ronald Reagan “conducted multiple tactical exercises to maximize the capacity of air defense and the range of long-range precision attacks”.
The Chinese fleet was just completing an exercise at the Pacific Islands, which are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan. The Chinese gave no details about that exercise, except that it was “intensive”.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls the exercise “within sovereignty” and “reasonable”. According to the ministry, with their exercise in the South China Sea, the Americans want to flex their muscles and drive a wedge between the countries in the region.
According to the U.S., the exercise serves to underline that the Americans are committed to “the right for all countries to fly, sail and operate where international law allows.”
For years, the U.S. has watched with sadness as China tries to expand its sphere of influence in East Asia. Relations between the two superpowers are currently deteriorating partly as a result of an argument over the new Chinese security law for Hong Kong.