Meanwhile, the US and the Philippines were preparing for a joint exercise, as the US Secretary of Defense used the methods proposed to deepen military cooperation between Washington and Manila after the ships were massaged in the disputed waters of China.
A group of US Navy expedition aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and the amphibious attack ship USS Makin Island came into the practice a day before, following the alleged arrival of Liaoning in the South China Sea. The two flat-top warships were joined by a cruiser, destroyer and small amphibious ships.
The ships carried hundreds of maritime ground forces from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit as well as their auxiliary helicopters and F-35 fighter jets.
US Navy Captain Stewart Betsonsky stated, “This expeditionary strike force fully demonstrates that we maintain a fighter-credible force, capable of responding to any contingency, dagger aggression, and an independent and open India.” -Provides regional security and stability in support of Pacific., Kapoor, Amphibious Squadron 3, said in a statement.
The Global Times quoted a Chinese military expert, We Dongxu, as saying that the US naval exercise was a provocation.
The exercise by Chinese carriers could “establish a broad maritime defensive position, protect China’s coastal areas, and prevent US military activities,” citing Wei.
But an American analyst described Liaoning’s presence in the South China Sea as normal for spring when weather conditions are favorable for training. “Liaoning goes down this time of year for air defense and live-fire training,” said Carl Schuster, former director of operations at the Joint Intelligence Center of the US Pacific Command.
US-Philippines Joint Practice
The report said the exercise would focus on testing the readiness of US and Philippine troops to respond to incidents such as extremist attacks and natural disasters.
A Pentagon statement said that on Sunday, after US Defense Minister Lloyd Austin appeared in Manila to his counterpart, Delphine Lorenzana, he proposed to deepen relations between the US and Philippine militants.
Washington and Manila are bound by a mutual defense treaty, which officials said could play out in the event of any Chinese military action against Philippine government vessels around Whatsun Reef.
As reported by CNN Philippines, a Filipino news crew said that their chartered boat was chased by Chinese missile boats last week as it went to a disputed police station in the Spratly series.
China claims about 1.3 million square miles of the South China Sea as its sovereign territory, running against claims from the Philippines and other countries. In recent years, Beijing has transformed disputed facilities in the region into man-made islands with military fortifications.
Beijing accused Washington and other foreign navies of curbing tensions in the region by sending them into warships like the current expeditionary group led by the carrier Roosevelt.
The tension extends to the northeastern edges of the South China Sea, where the island of Taiwan sits. Beijing claims a democratic, self-governing island of about 24 million people as its territory, even though the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed that Beijing will never allow Taiwan to be formally independent and has refused to use force to unify the island with the mainland if necessary.
Analysts said the exercise was a warning to Taipei and Washington that Beijing would not take any steps towards Taiwan’s independence and was prepared to take military action to prevent this from happening.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that Washington stood with a commitment to protect Taiwan.
Blinken said on NBC’s “Meet the Press”, “One of the real concerns for us is that aggressive action by the government in Beijing is directed at Taiwan.”
“We have a sincere commitment to Taiwan that we can defend it. We have a serious commitment to peace and security in the Western Pacific. And in this context, it would be a grave mistake for anyone to try to forcefully change that situation.” . ” , ”Blinken said.