America just sent a carrier strike group to confront China

The United States Navy has sent a carrier strike group to the West Philippine Sea to confront China amid the raging tension over territorial disputes between neighbors in the Asia-Pacific region. A ‘small armada’ that include the John C. Stennis carrier (CVN-74), two destroyers, two cruisers and the 7th Fleet flagship has been deployed to the contested waterways several days ago and is meant as US’ latest ‘show of force’ in the face of China’s militarization of island-features currently under its control.

A Navy Times report dated Wednesday, March 3, said the carrier strike group has sailed into the disputed waters in ‘recent days’ and should send a clear signal to China and to other nation-claimants. The Stennis , a nuclear-powered Nimitz-class supercarrier with more or less 7,000 crew, was dispatched from Washington state last January 15 and is joined by cruisers Antietam and Mobile Bay, destroyers Chung-Hoon and Stockdale, and the Japan-based 7th Fleet command ship Blue Ridge. The ships arrived in the Western Pacific on February 4. Early this week, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter issued a strongly-worded warning against China’s militarization scheme in the West Philippine Sea. “Specific actions will have specific consequences. These activities have the potential to increase the risk of miscalculation or conflict among claimant states,” said Carter during a speech at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. But a Pacific Fleet official downplayed the recent deployment of Stennis in the region as part of its ‘routine patrol.’ “Our ships and aircraft operate routinely throughout the Western Pacific including the South China Sea and have for decades,” said fleet spokesman Cmdr. Clay Doss. In October last year, the US Navy’s USS Lassen, a guided-missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Spratlys; prompting an angry response from Beijing which described Washington’s move as ‘provocative’ and ‘irresponsible’.
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