South China Sea: US aircraft carrier returns to sea as Beijing’s ‘harassment’ continues

We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.

The vessel was sidelined for nearly two months after more than 1,000 sailors tested positive for coronavirus.

According to Navy officials, since the nuclear-powered aircraft moored on the Pacific island of Guam, Chinese forces have “continued risky and escalatory behaviour”.

China has been accused of harassing the US military due the global pandemic.

Fox News claims around the same time the US aircraft carrier pulled into the bay, Chinese fighter jets have harassed the reconnaissance aircraft at least nine times in the highly disputed area.

Reed B Werner, deputy assistant secretary of defence for Southeast Asia, said the harassment was not limited to the skies.

Mr Werner accused the Chinese military of harassing the Japan-based guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin last month.

He said: “We do find the current trend line very worrisome.

“We’ve made démarches… on a regular basis.

“We continue to see Chinese destabilising behaviour in the South China Sea.

“As countries are focused inward, China continues to push forward.”

Mr Werner continued that the Pentagon remains ‘sceptical’ about the Communist nation’s sincerity and accused them of intimidating and bullying others.

In recent weeks, tensions have risen in the heavily disputed South China Sea area.

Earlier this month, the US Air Force and Marines conducted training exercises in the area with three submarines joining ships and aircraft in the nearby Philippine Sea.

DON’T MISS 
US Navy displays military might in war exercises – China on alert [INSIGHT] 

World on alert: Satellite images catch China in major military move [REVEAL] 
US and China on brink of WW3 – George Galloway exposes decisive move [OPINION]

The actions are thought to be a reaction to Chinese harassment of ships drilling for resources in nearby waters.

Back in April, three US ships joined the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Parramatta and sailed to the region to demonstrate a commitment to keeping the sea open.

Rear Adm. Fred Kacher, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 7, said: “The versatility and flexibility of Independence-variant littoral combat ships rotationally deployed to Southeast Asia is a game changer.

“Like Montgomery’s previous operations, Gabrielle Giffords’ operations near West Capella (the drill ship) demonstrate the depth of capability the US Navy has available in the region.

“There is no better signal of our support for a free and open Indo-Pacific than positive and persistent US Naval engagement in this region.”

Vice Adm. Bill Mer added that the US will continue to operate in South China Sea waters as long as international laws permits.

Recently a standoff between China and Malaysia over the potential natural gas and oil reserves beneath the South China Sea appeared to end as both vessels moved away from each other.

The South China Sea region is a disputed territory where it faces rival ownership claims from China, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan.

Diplomatic relations between the nations, which have laid claim to the islands, are already extremely strained.

The recent construction of bunkers on some of the atolls points to China preparing to “protection against air or missile strikes”, raising the prospect of a potential conflict, sparking World War 3 fears.

The islands and surrounding reefs have been the subject of a bitter and long-running territorial dispute, with China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines all laying claim to parts of the archipelago.

Earlier this month, China hit out at Vietnam’s fishing protest in the South China Sea days after Beijing issued a ban on trawlers in part of the disputed waters.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said its neighbour had no right to comment on the annual summer prohibition on fishing, insisting China had every right to issue such a ban.

Source: Read Full Article