The United States have always been vocal about opposing China’s ambitions in the South China Sea. This time, it appears as if it really wants to challenge Beijing as more of its forces arrive near the region, expanding its fleet. Could this mean war?
US Expanding presence in South China Sea
The U.S. Navy’s Third Fleet is expanding to East Asia as it ventures into its normal operational setup. This marks the navy’s exploration outside the usual Japan-based Seventh Fleet theater. According to one US official, the move comes after tensions continue to rise in the South China Sea region.
According to a report from Reuters, Third Fleet’s Pacific Surface Action Group, including guided-missile destroyers USS Spruance and USS Momsen, were already sent to East Asia back in April. The official claimed that they expect to deploy more Third Fleet vessels. The official disclosed the information to the agency on the condition of anonynimity. Another official confirmed that the vessels would be involved in a series of operations although details about the said operations were not provided.
China’s Foreign Ministry has condemned the United States for its series of actions in the South China Sea region.
“How the U.S. military uses its taxpayers’ dollars to carry out deployments is its own affair,” said ministry spokesman Lu Kang during a briefing. “I’m not concerned about it. What I’m concerned about is regional peace, security and stability.”
More US Exercises in Tow in South China Sea
It appears that China will be further angered as the United States continue to show off its massive force. According to Japan Times, the US Navy just sent two aircraft carrier strike groups for several exercises on the Philippine Sea. The exercises came in advance of the much anticipated international ruling about the territorial dispute.
“This is a great opportunity for us to train in a high-end scenario,” said John D. Alexander, commander of the Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture-based Carrier Strike Group 5.
“We must take advantage of these opportunities to practice war-fighting techniques that are required to prevail in modern naval operations,” the official added.