Beijing rejects Pentagon’s criticism of military drills in S. China Sea

The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out operations and exercises in the South China Sea 'to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,' the navy said in a statement. — Reuters pic

Beijing rejects Pentagon’s criticism of military drills in S. China Sea

The exercise is long planned but comes as China conducts military drills of its in the area, close to the contested Paracel Islands, exercises that have been criticized by the U.S. and other countries. The Chinese exercises, which began Wednesday, were due to wrap up Sunday.

"The current Chinese policy is if (the) USA does something, we need to respond in proportion at the same level of intensity and at the same level of seriousness, " Yun said. "This advanced capability is one of many ways the US Navy promotes security, stability, and prosperity throughout the Indo-Pacific".

"High-end integrated exercises build unmatched flexibility, endurance, maneuverability, and firepower in an all-domain warfighting environment", Lt. Cmdr. Military Public Affairs Officer for Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, Lt Cmdr S Brophy told ANI.

"These efforts are in accordance with the commitments made by the United States to defend the right of any nation to fly, navigate and maneuver wherever worldwide law allows", he added.

China on Friday (July 3) rejected criticism by the US Defence Department of its plan to hold military exercises in the South China Sea, and suggested that Washington was to blame for increased tensions in the region. "Should the exercises spill over to Philippine territory then China is forewarned that it will be met with the severest response, diplomatic and whatever else is appropriate", he said. Analysts have said having three carriers in the Western Pacific is unusual.

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The Navy has rebounded after cases of COVID-19 were detected on some of its ships, including infections aboard all three carriers, with numerous hard-hit vessels returning to action.

On Saturday, American strike group commander Rear Admiral George M. Wikoff said that the goal of the two USA aircraft carriers' deployment to the South China Sea is "to show an unambiguous signal to our partners and allies that we are committed to regional security and stability". The Wall Street Journal reported earlier the participation of carriers in the coming army.

Apart from China, the Spratly Islands and Paracel Islands, which are among the more frequently disputed territories in the South China, are also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, and Taiwan.

The Ronald Reagan is usually stationed in Japan the Nimitz achieved Asia's coastline on June 17 and has also been conducting joint physical exercises with an additional aircraft carrier, the Theodore Roosevelt.

A Chinese coastguard vessel (left) uses water cannon on a Vietnamese Sea Guard ship on the South China Sea near the Paracels islands, in this photo released May 8, 2014.

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The Bashi Channel, a waterway just south of Taiwan, has turned into another flashpoint for the U.S. and China.

He reiterated the call for all South China Sea claimants to exercise self-restraint and adhere to worldwide law to avoid escalating tension.

PRC is the acronym for China's formal name, the People's Republic of China.

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