The United States Carrier John C. Stennis and her carrier battle group have arrived in the South China Sea. Is it really a show of force? Is it just a normal deployment? China has been forcing the envelope in this area for a while now. This issue bears watching. Read more below.
US Navy aircraft carrier, escorts arrive in South China Sea for ‘show of force’
A US Navy aircraft carrier and five escort ships have arrived in the South China Sea amid rising tensions over China’s militarization of disputed islands, Washington officials confirmed on Friday.
The Navy Times described the deployment as “a small armada.”
Officials approached by the Taipei Times played down the situation and passed it off as routine, but Fox News said that “multiple defense officials” told it the move was “a show of force” and a signal to China.
A US Pacific Fleet spokesman said the nuclear-powered carrier USS John C. Stennis and its air wing, along with two destroyers — USS Chung-Hoon and USS Stockdale — and two cruisers — USS Antietam and USS Mobile Bay — were in the region.
The Navy Times said that the command ship USS Blue Ridge, the floating headquarters of the Japan-based US Seventh Fleet, was also in the area.
According to Center for a New American Security analyst Jerry Hendrix, the Pentagon is demonstrating its full commitment to presence and freedom of navigation in the region.
“With the full carrier strike group and the command ship, the navy is showing the scope of its interests and ability to project presence and power around the world,” he told the Navy Times.
A report issued last month by the think tank said the days of the US Navy’s “unchallenged primacy” around the world might be coming to an end.