Military groups USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan are conducting double carrier operations in the Philippine and South China Seas, “said Lieutenant Joe Jeiley, a spokesman for the Seventh Fleet.” They handled two strike groups of carriers in the Philippines and the South Sea. The China Sea provides advanced training opportunities for our forces and provides combat commanders with significant operational flexibility if those forces are called upon in response to regional situations.
“The presence of two carriers is not the answer to any political or world events. This advanced capability is one of many ways the U.S. Navy promotes security, stability and prosperity across the Indo-Pacific.”
“America agrees with our friends from Southeast Asia: The PRC (People’s Republic of China) military exercise in the disputed waters of the South China Sea is very provocative. We oppose Beijing’s illegal claims. Period,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted on Friday.
The Pentagon said Thursday that “Chinese military exercises are the latest in a long line of PRC actions to make illegal maritime claims and endanger its Southeast Asian neighbors in the South China Sea.”
The Paracel Islands are claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan, and the United States has long said that Beijing has militarized islands in the South China Sea by deploying military equipment and building military facilities.
Officials said U.S. military exercises would not be conducted near any disputed islands in the region.
While the U.S. Navy routinely operates in the area, the operation of two nuclear-powered aircraft carriers – USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan, is a significant indicator of strength and comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing in several areas, including Hong Kong.
This story has been updated with additional information.