By Helene Fung
The US Navy had sent two US aircraft carriers, USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Regan, to disputed areas in the South China Sea, and they were carrying operations and exercises” to support a free and open Indo-Pacific” on Saturday, just as China was also conducting military exercises in the area and tension has been high.
China’s People’s Liberation Army has been staging exercises off the disputed Paracel Islands (also known as Xisha Islands) since the 1st of July.
The Islands are claimed by both Vietnam and China.Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also lay claim to parts of the South China Sea.
Vietnam and the Philippines have criticised the Chinese drills when plans were announced last week.
Filipino Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr on Friday warned China to expect“the severest response” if the Chinese military exercises were to spill over into Philippine territory.
The US accused China of intimidating its neighbours with interests in the South China Seas’ oil and gas reserves.
China dismissed the US criticism of its drills on Friday, and suggested the United States was to blame for increasing tensions.