04 Mar US Navy sent a carrier strike group to the South China Sea to confront China
According to military officials, the carrier John C. Stennis that was deployed from Washington state on Jan.15, two destroyers, two cruisers and the 7th Fleet flagship recently sailed into the disputed waters in South China Sea joined by the cruisers Antietam and Mobile Bay and the destroyers Chung-Hoon and Stockdale. It is the latest show of force in the tense region with the US declaring that China is militarizing the region in order to defend its excessive territorial claims.
Also in the area is Japan-based 7th Fleet Blue Ridge which is a floating headquarters en route to a port visit in the Philippines.
Conducting a “routine patrol” is the other Japan-based cruiser Antietam separate from Stennis and is following up patrols conducted by McCambell (destroyer) and Ashland (dock landing ship) in late February.
Th dead heat between both sides heated up after news in February that China deployed an advanced surface-to-air missile battery to the Paracel Islands and that made US Pacific Command head Adm. Harry Harris think and tell lawmakers that China was militarizing the South China Sea.
“In my opinion China is clearly militarizing the South China Sea,” Harris testified on Feb. 24. “You’d have to believe in a flat Earth to believe otherwise.”
But Chinese officials dismissed the claims that they are militarizing the region pointing the blame back to the US with their Stennis patroling increasing the military tensions.
“The accusation [that China is militarizing the region] can lead to a miscalculation of the situation,” said Fu Ying, a spokeswoman for China’s National People’s Congress. “If you take a look at the matter closely, it’s the US sending the most advanced aircraft and military vessels to the South China Sea.”