US carriers in South China Sea and Taiwan report new Chinese incursion

By Ben Blanchard

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Two groups of U.S. aircraft carriers entered the disputed South China Sea for training, the Defense Ministry said on Monday as Taiwan reported another Chinese air force incursion. atop the waterway, including a fearsome new electronic warfare aircraft.

The South China Sea and autonomous Taiwan are two of China’s most sensitive territorial issues and both are frequent areas of tension between the United States and China.

US Navy ships regularly sail near islands occupied by China in the South China Sea to contest Chinese sovereignty claims, as well as through the Taiwan Strait, to Beijing’s anger.

The US Department of Defense said the two US Navy carrier battle groups, led by their flagships USS Carl Vinson and USS Abraham Lincoln, began operations in the South China Sea on Sunday.

The carrier groups will conduct exercises including anti-submarine warfare operations, air warfare operations and maritime interdiction operations to enhance combat readiness, it said in a statement.

The training will take place in accordance with international law in international waters, the Defense Ministry added, without giving details.

“Operations such as these allow us to enhance our credible combat capability, reassure our allies and partners, and demonstrate our resolve as a Navy to ensure regional stability and counter malign influence,” he said. Rear Admiral JT Anderson, commander of the strike group led by the USS Abraham Lincoln, as they say.

The two carrier groups were reported by the U.S. Navy on Sunday as exercising with the Japanese Navy in the Philippine Sea, an area that includes waters east of Taiwan.

News of US operations coincides with Taiwan report The Chinese Air Force’s latest massive foray into its air defense identification zone – 39 aircraft – in an area near the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands in the northern part of the South China Sea.

Taiwan reported another 13 Chinese aircraft in the area on Monday, including one, a Y-8 anti-submarine, flying through the Bashi Channel that separates Taiwan from the Philippines and connects the Pacific to the South China Sea, according to a report. map provided. by the Taiwan Ministry of Defense.

The ministry added that two Chinese J-16Ds took part in the mission, although kept close to Chinese shores, a new electronic attack version of the J-16 fighter designed to target anti-aircraft defenses of the type on which Taiwan would lean on to repel an attack.

China has yet to comment, but has previously said the missions are aimed at protecting its sovereignty and preventing outside interference in its sovereignty claims over democratically-ruled Taiwan.

Security sources previously told Reuters that China’s flights to the Taiwan Defense Zone are also likely a response to foreign military activity, particularly by US forces, near the island, to warn that Beijing monitors and has the ability to handle any eventuality in Taiwan.

Taiwan calls China’s repeated military activities in the vicinity a “grey zone war”, designed both to wear down Taiwanese forces by repeatedly jostling them, and also to test Taiwan’s responses.

The South China Sea, traversed by vital shipping lanes and also containing gas fields and rich fishing grounds, is also claimed by Taiwan, while Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines claim parts.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Comments are closed.