US Carrier Group Headed to S. China Sea Waters Claimed by China
A U.S. aircraft carrier group is preparing to sail through the contested South China Sea later this month, and observers expect an angry Beijing to register its opposition and quicken its militarization of small islands in the region. The group of ships led by the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and guided missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy is plying the South China Sea after a mid-February port call in Manila where some of the 5,500 crew members offered humanitarian aid, the U.S. Navy said in a statement. A U.S. Navy statement says the group came for, “promoting freedom of the seas and enhancing regional security,” as well as working with allies in the region. That’s not the message likely to be received by Beijing, which regards about 90 percent of the 3.5 million-square-kilometer waterway as its own. Those claims are disputed by five militarily weaker claimants: Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. The United States does not claim territory in the region, but regularly patrols the waters to ensure that they remain open for commercial traffic. “I think it’s important to show to the world that the South China Sea is an international water, that it’s not a private lake of China, and only the United States can challenge China or provide balance of power in the South China Sea,” Philippine Congressman Gary Alejano said. Chinese build-up China has built up three features in the sea’s Spratly Islands since 2013 to accommodate fighter planes and radar systems, one American think tank believes. It also controls the 130-feature Paracel Islands disputed by Vietnam. The U.S. carrier group’s visit may lead China to accelerate development or deploy fighter planes, some analysts believe. U.S. maneuvers, which are taking place roughly once every two months under President Donald Trump, would spark... If you wish to read this full breaking news headline, plus more articles from around Thailand and Asia like, US Carrier Group Headed to S. China Sea Waters Claimed by China, simply click on 'Read full story' below, but 1st please give us a 'LIKE' or 'SHARE' before you leave. Thank you
Published By: VOA NEWS - Friday, 2 March, 2018
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