Two US aircraft carriers entered the disputed South China Sea for training, the US Defense Department said on Sunday, in what a senior commander said was intended to comfort allies and demonstrate determination to “malicious influence”.
The disputed waters are one of several areas of tension between the United States and China, which claims a large part of them and has built military bases on artificial islands.
US Navy ships regularly pass by these islands to challenge China’s claims of sovereignty, much to Beijing’s annoyance.
The US Defense Department said in a statement that the carriers will conduct exercises that include anti-submarine warfare missions, aerial warfare missions and maritime intervention missions.
The training will be conducted in accordance with international laws for international waters, the Defense Department elaborated.
new US News of the operation coincides with reports of the latest mass incursion by Taiwan into its air defense detection zone in an area near the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands at the northern end of the North Sea, south of China.