US Let’s It Be Known To Japan And China It’s Not Playing
The USA doesn’t usually like to publicly list the locations and operations of it’s carrier groups but when it does it is usually to send a less than subtle signal to relevant countries that it is in the neighbourhood and carrying a big stick. It appears that it has just done so with regard to both the East China and South China seas. Is a message to China and Taiwan to calm themselves and will this work or will China take this as more evidence of encirclement?
In related news, two of the US Navy’s global force aircraft carrier strike groups are currently patroling the Western Pacific within distance of the South and East China Seas, providing “a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the United States and its allies and partners,” the US Seventh Fleet said.
US Navy officials said the USS George Washington carrier strike group had begun operating near the East China Sea while the John C. Stennis Strike Group (JCSSG), led by the USS John C. Stennis carrier, is now operating near the South China Sea, also the scene of sovereignty disputes involving China, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines.
US Pacific Command (PACOM) said the JCSSG paid a scheduled port visit at Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia, on Sunday. This was the first visit by a US carrier in Sabah, which adjoins the South China Sea.
In addition, the USS Bonhomme Richard forward-deployed amphibious assault ship, with about 2,000 US Marines on board, is said to be operating in the Philippine Sea.