According to US Navy press releases, USS Ronald Reagan and USS Theodore Roosevelt are patrolling the western Pacific, while USS Nimitz is in the east. With each ship containing more than 60 aircraft, it represents the largest deployment of U.S. aircraft carriers in the Pacific since 2017 – when tensions with North Korea over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program were at their height.
Admiral Stephen Kohler, Director of Operations for the Indian-Pacific Command: “The heavily-written airlines and strike groups are exceptional symbols of the US Navy. I really feel excited because we have three of them at the moment.” Hawaii, tell AP.
On Sunday, the Communist Party’s Global Times said airlines could threaten forces in the disputed South China Sea.
The report, which was published on the official website of the English Army of the People’s Liberation Army, also highlighted the weapons available to the Chinese army, adding that Beijing could conduct exercises in response to its firepower.
“China possesses lethal aircraft carrier weapons such as the DF-21D and DF-26 anti-ship ballistic missiles,” the story said.
The deployments mean that there are three active U.S. Navy aircraft carrier carriers in the Pacific. The other four are in port for maintenance.
“This contrasts with the version that China wanted to make clear that the United States is under pressure in the Pacific region,” Koh said.
“Theodore Roosevelt brought us back to the sea as a symbol of hope, inspiration and an instrument of national authority because we are TR,” Captain Roosevelt Captain Carlos Sardillo said in a statement.
Reagan returned to the sea in late May after crew members were placed under restricted movements at his original port in Japan to ensure his deployment without any Covid-19 cases. A statement by the US Navy said that more than 1,000 tons of ammunition had been loaded – “sufficient combat power that would make the ship sit at a height of five inches on the water line.”
The move comes after the US Pacific Fleet said last month that all of its forward submarines were at sea and operating in the Western Pacific. No figures have been disclosed, but experts say it is likely to include more than eight ships that are difficult to track.
It was no coincidence, said Carl Schuster, a former director of operations for the US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center.
“The (Chinese navy) do not know the location of these submarines and this complicates any response and planning calculations,” he said, especially when Beijing now also has to calculate three aircraft carriers, their destroyers and their corvettes.
Tensions between the United States and China
The deployments also come at a time of heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing over the South China Sea and Taiwan.
Last week, a U.S. Navy C-40 transport plane, the equivalent of a Boeing 737, flew over Taiwan en route to Thailand in what the Navy said was a routine logistical journey. US Navy spokesman Ryan Momsen told CNN that the US plane was defeated over Taiwan, which China considers part of its territory, by Taiwan air traffic controllers.
But Xinhua said Beijing described the trip as “an illegal act and a dangerous provocation.”
“The overflights undermined China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, and violated international law and basic standards guiding international relations,” said the Xinhua story, quoting Zhou Fenglian, a spokesman with the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.