U.S. Carrier Strike Groups, French Submarine Complete South China Sea Operations — Radio Free Asia

Two U.S. plane service strike teams conducted twin operations within the South China Sea on Tuesday, the newest in a sequence of U.S. army maneuvers in these turbulent waters.

In an indication of rising worldwide pushback towards China’s expansive claims and assertive habits, French Defense Minister Florence Parly additionally confirmed Monday {that a} French nuclear assault submarine and an accompanying assist ship had lately accomplished a patrol within the South China Sea.

The operations level to the increasing position of non-claimant states within the South China Sea, which is contested by China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, and Malaysia.

Earlier in January, Nikkei Asia reported that Germany is contemplating sending a naval frigate via the South China Sea as early as this coming summer season – indication of an rising willingness amongst such states to deploy army belongings to again up their diplomatic messaging.

The United States is on the forefront of this pushback.

The deployment of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group and the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group was the second twin plane service operation by the U.S. within the South China Sea in little over six months.

“The ships and aircraft of the two strike groups coordinated operations in a highly trafficked area to demonstrate the U.S. Navy’s ability to operate in challenging environments,” the U.S. Navy stated in a press release.

“Through operations like this, we be sure that we’re tactically proficient to fulfill the problem of sustaining peace and we’re capable of proceed to point out our companions and allies within the area that we’re dedicated to selling a Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” Rear Adm. Doug Verissimo, commander of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group, was quoted as saying.

The final twin service operation within the South China Sea was in July 2020, involving the USS Ronald Reagan and USS Nimitz.

The Theodore Roosevelt and Nimitz Carrier Strike Groups steam in formation in the South China Sea on Feb. 9, 2021. Credit: U.S. Navy
The Theodore Roosevelt and Nimitz Carrier Strike Groups steam in formation within the South China Sea on Feb. 9, 2021. Credit: U.S. Navy

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin criticized Tuesday’s operation, noting “the U.S. has frequently sent warships and aircraft to the South China Sea as a show of force, which is not conducive to regional stability and peace.”

“China will continue to take necessary measures to firmly safeguard its national sovereignty and security, and will work with regional countries to resolutely protect the peace and stability of the South China Sea,” Wang stated.

Last week, the USS John S. McCain Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer conducted a freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) within the Chinese-occupied Paracel Islands, which a Chinese army spokesman described as “seriously violating China’s sovereignty and security.” It was the primary such FONOP since President Joe Biden took workplace final month.

And earlier in January, the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group carried out routine operations within the South China Sea, together with maritime strike workout routines and coordinated tactical coaching between floor and air items.

Other nations are becoming a member of the fray too.

In sequence of tweets on Monday, French Defense Minister Florence Parly revealed that the SNA Emeraude, a nuclear assault submarine, lately accomplished operations within the South China Sea.

According to Parly, the SNA Emeraude was accompanied by a assist ship, the BSAM Seine.

“This extraordinary patrol has just completed a passage in the South China Sea. A striking proof of the capacity of our French Navy to deploy far away and for a long time together with our Australian, American and Japanese strategic partners,” she stated.

Parly added that operation was meant to affirm worldwide regulation, and that France intends to guard its sovereignty and pursuits within the Indo-Pacific area, the place it nonetheless controls quite a few territories.

U.S. allies Japan and Australia have additionally participated in army workout routines within the South China Sea in latest months.

Meanwhile, a rising variety of non-claimant powers have formally challenged China’s maximalist South China Sea claims within the United Nations, together with the U.S. but in addition Australia, Indonesia, France, Germany, and Japan.

For occasion, in September 2020 the United Kingdom, France, and Germany submitted joint diplomatic notes to the U.N. rejecting China’s baseline claims within the Paracel Islands, its “historic rights” claims, and different points of China’s place.

According to specialists, exterior nations have lengthy pursued their pursuits on this contested physique of water. Hoang Viet, an knowledgeable on the South China Sea, advised RFA that European nations are notably involved about upholding worldwide regulation and specifically the navigational freedoms granted by worldwide regulation.

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