Reports state that an aircraft carrier group that belongs to the U.S. Navy is now operating in the South China Sea in a show of strength and power against China. In the meantime, a naval training vessel that belongs to China is on its goodwill tour to Southeast Asia, aiming to foster friendship and peace in the region.
Open-source monitoring facilitated by the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative, a think tank from Beijing, says that the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier made its transit via the Bashi Channel, and on Wednesday, it set sail into the South China Sea. The U.S. aircraft carrier was with two C-2A Greyhound carrier transport aircraft, which flew between the Philippines and the aircraft carrier.
Specialists predict that the U.S. aircraft carrier will most likely conduct exercises to showcase its strength in the South China Sea, escalating tensions between China and the U.S.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has been constantly courting the Philippines to confront China militarily, gaining access to four additional military bases in the nation and conducting joint naval and coast guard exercises.
On the day the U.S. aircraft carrier entered the South China Sea, the training vessel Qi Jiguang, belonging to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, reached Manila for a three-day visit to the Philippines. The training vessel, loaded with 476 cadets and sailors, has already visited Thailand, Vietnam, and Brunei. The Philippines is its scheduled last stop.
Chinese military specialists view Qi Jiguang’s visit as a polite and friendly gesture that further enhances communication and mutual trust in the region. The U.S. aircraft carrier, in contrast, muscle-flexing, is a hegemonic move toward China that is unwelcome in that region.
Before reaching the South China Sea, the USS Ronald Reagan successfully teamed up with the USS Nimitz to form a dual carrier strike group in early June.
Together with forces from countries, including Japan, Canada, and France, they carried out multiple exercises in the waters of the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea near China’s Taiwan zone.
According to a Chinese military specialist who requested strict anonymity, the moves aren’t conducive to relaxing tensions in China-US military relations.
The PLA, however, can fight and defeat hostile forces, including the U.S. aircraft strike groups, on the doorstep of China, be it in the waters of the South China Sea or around the island of Taiwan, to secure national sovereignty, development interests, and security. The PLA has also established a robust system comprising naval, rocket, and aviation forces, duly supported by intelligence, surveillance, and unique reconnaissance capabilities to prevent foreign forces from coming in close contact with China in case a conflict breaks out.
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