US Aircraft Carriers Commence Exercise in Philippine Sea; Could lead to Conflict, Warns China

  • Our Bureau
  • 03:19 PM, June 21, 2020
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US Aircraft Carriers Commence Exercise in Philippine Sea; Could lead to Conflict, Warns China
An E/A-18G Growler launches from USS Theodore Roosevelt, June 17 @USNavy

The USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Nimitz strike groups commenced dual carrier flight operations in the Philippine Sea today in an exercise that appears aimed at demonstrating US muscle to China.

Rear Adm. James Kirk, commander of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11 said, “Our operations……are a powerful message of our commitment to regional security and stability as we protect the critically important rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea for the benefit all nations.”

Meanwhile, China warned that US military activity in Asia-Pacific including repeated trespassing into China's territorial waters in the South China could increase the possibility of a conflict between the US and Chinese navies, according to excerpts of a report by China's National Institute for South China Sea Studies (CNISCSS), to be released Tuesday;  that appeared today in China’s state-controlled media.

While at sea, the strike groups will support air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishments at sea, defensive air combat training, long range strikes, coordinated maneuvers and other exercises. Rear Adm. Doug Verissimo, commander of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9 commented, “By working together in this environment, we’re improving our tactical skills and readiness in the face of an increasingly pressurized region.”

US Aircraft Carriers Commence Exercise in Philippine Sea; Could lead to Conflict, Warns China
Fighter jets abroad USS Nimitz @USNavy

CSG 11 consists of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 53) and guided-missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9, which includes USS Sterett (DDG 104), USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17.

CSG 9 consists of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 53) and guided-missile destroyers from Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23, USS Russell (DDG 59), USS Rafaela Peralta (DDG 115), and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11.

The CNISCSS report details US' security policy, military presence and deployment, recent military activities and security relations in the region. “It focuses on the changes brought by US' return to the Cold War-esque great-power competition to China-US military relations,” according to an abstract of the report the institute sent to the Global Times on Sunday.

The report notes that since the Trump administration took office in early 2017, it identified "great-power competition," reminiscent of the Cold War, for the first time in a strategy document on national security, and its Indo-Pacific strategy took shape by the end of 2018, which is ultimately aimed at protecting US supremacy in global and regional affairs, covering not only security but also political and economic issues.

US Aircraft Carriers Commence Exercise in Philippine Sea; Could lead to Conflict, Warns China
Chinese guided-missile frigate Yulin during "realistic" training @Chinamilitary

According to the CNISCSS report, the US has 375,000 enlisted members in its Indo-Pacific Command, including 60 percent of its Navy ships, 55 percent of its Army and two-thirds of its Marine Corps. In addition, with 85,000 forward-deployed soldiers and a large amount of high-tech and new weaponry, the US military has maintained its absolute supremacy in the Asia-Pacific over the years, while also keeping to seek new deployments, budgets and resources using China's and Russia's military development as excuses.

Recently, US warships have repeatedly trespassed into Chinese territorial waters around the Xisha and Nansha islands, conducted operations in the South China Sea and crossed the Taiwan Straits. In a rare move, it has deployed three aircraft carriers to the region, the report said.

Global Times said quoting unnamed Chinese military experts that China has expelled the trespassing US warships and conducted exercises to boost its combat capability. US' military operations could easily trigger accidents, which risks further escalations.

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