Daily US Times: Over the weekend, military activity in the South China Sea spiked as a Chinese aircraft carrier entered the region and a United States Navy expeditionary strike group wrapped up exercises.
Meanwhile, the Philippines and US were preparing for joint drills as the US defense secretary proposed ways to deepen military cooperation between Manila and Washington after China massed vessels in disputed waters.
On Sunday, China’s state-run Global Times newspaper said the Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier, steamed into the South China Sea on Saturday after completing a week of naval exercises around Taiwan. There was no official announcement of the Chinese aircraft carrier’s position, but the Chinese tabloid cited satellite images first reported by US media outlet The War Zone.
China’s aircraft carrier’s reported arrival in the South China Sea came after a US Navy expeditionary strike group, fronted by USS Theodore Roosevelt and amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island, conducted exercises in the South China Sea a day earlier.
The two flat-top warships were joined by destroyers, a cruiser and smaller amphibious ships.
The ships also carried hundreds of Marine ground forces from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit as well as their supporting F-35 fighter jets and helicopters.
US Navy Capt. Stewart Bateshansky, commodore, Amphibious Squadron 3, said in a statement: “This expeditionary strike force fully demonstrates that we maintain a combat-credible force, capable of responding to any contingency, deter aggression, and provide regional security and stability in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.”