U.S. Carrier USS Carl Vinson Underway with Japanese Warships
USS Carl Vinson Strike Group with Japan Naval Force Patrol Philippines Sea
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers JS Hamagiri (DD 155), JS Samidare (DD 106), JS Umigiri (DD 1), JS Yudachi (DD 103) and the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG-108) and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG-57) participate in a photo exercise in the Philippine Sea.
A United States aircraft carrier strike group has begun patrols in the South China Sea amid growing tension with China over control of the disputed waterway and concerns it could become a flashpoint under the new U.S. administration.
China’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday warned Washington against challenging its sovereignty in the South China Sea.
The U.S. navy said the force, including Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, began routine operations in the South China Sea on Saturday. The announcement was posted on the Vinson’s Facebook page.
The strike group’s commander, Rear Admiral James Kilby, said that weeks of training in the Pacific had improved the group’s effectiveness and readiness.
“We are looking forward to demonstrating those capabilities while building upon existing strong relationships with our allies, partners and friends in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” he was quoted as saying by the Navy News Service.
Friction between the United States and China over trade and territory under U.S. President Donald Trump have increased concerns that the South China Sea could become a flashpoint.
China wrapped up its own naval exercises in the South China Sea on Friday. War games involving its own aircraft carrier have unnerved neighbors with which it has long-running territorial disputes.
Sailing with the 97,000-ton Vinson is the guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer, the Navy said in a statement. The Vinson carries a flight group of more than 60 aircraft, including F/A-18 jet fighters.
An international court handed down a decision that pointed a finger at the unjustness of Beijing’s self-serving actions and statements related to its territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Regarding the so-called nine-dash line – based on which China claims sovereignty – the arbitration court said “there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights”. The court also said “there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control” over the resources and waters.
The international court further concluded that China was not entitled to an exclusive economic zone for the artificial islands it has constructed in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
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