The U.S. Navy will send two aircraft carriers and several warships to the South China Sea for military exercises just a few days after China began a series of maneuvers in that Pacific Sea region.
“The aircraft carriers USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan do not pose a threat to the region or respond to any political or global events,” the U.S. Seventh Fleet spokesman Joe Jeiley said.
However, the news came shortly after the U.S. State Department expressed disagreement over China’s military started to launch exercises near the disputed Paracel Islands.
“China should not conduct military exercises amid tensions over those archipelagos,” U.S. Department of State assured.
Asian countries such as Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei claim the Paracel Islands as their territory. It is believed that these archipelagos have valuable oil and gas deposits.
“The Paracel Islands are indisputably Chinese territory, and our military has every right to conduct maneuvers within the country’s sovereignty,” China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry Wang Yi responded.
The U.S. Navy presence in the South China Sea “is the only cause of destabilization in the region,” China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry added.
Over the past few years, Beijing has built artificial islands and deployed military infrastructure in the Spratly and Paracel archipelagos. The U.S. administration is concerned about China’s growing influence in the region.