- US Carrier Drills in Disputed South China Sea as Beijing Closes Waters for Own Exercises
USS Ronald Reagan has conducted demonstrative flight operations training to promote ‘peace through strength’ in the South China Sea, next to disputed strategic atolls where China has been holding its own military drills.
To showcase the strike group’s capabilities, the US Navy has airlifted a small group of Philippine officers to the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier on Tuesday. The military brass of the island nation, which has been reluctant to side with US in any open confrontation with China, were treated to maneuvers by the Reagan’s air wing, comprised of about 70 F/A-18 jets, spy planes and helicopters.
The provocative ‘freedom of navigation’ stunt in the area Beijing repeatedly warned Washington to stay clear of took place just as China launched its own two-day military exercises near the disputed Paracel Islands. China’s Maritime Safety Administration issued multiple warnings about closed waters, but shared no additional details of the planned drills.