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U.S. carriers in South China Sea, Taiwan reports further Chinese incursion -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO USS Carl Vinson is a U.S. Navy plane carrier that docks in Danang (Vietnam) March 5, 2018. REUTERS/Kham/File Photo

By Ben Blanchard

TAIPEI (Reuters] -Two U.S. military aircraft carriers entered South China Sea, according to the Department of Defense. This was Monday after Taiwan announced that a Chinese air force had invaded the area.

Both the South China Sea (China) and Taiwan’s self-governing Taiwan (China), are sensitive issues that China holds dearly. They are also frequent points of tension between America and China.

U.S. Navy ships routinely sail close to Chinese-occupied islands in the South China Sea to challenge Chinese sovereignty claims, as well as through the Taiwan Strait, to Beijing’s anger.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Groups led by USS Carl Vinson (flagship) and USS Abraham Lincoln (commander), had started operations in South China Sea.

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According to a statement, the carrier groups will perform anti-submarine war operations as well as maritime interdiction operations in order to improve combat readiness.

Without giving any details, the Department of Defense stated that training would be in compliance with international law in international waterways.

It quoted Rear Admiral J.T. as saying, “Operations such as these enable us to improve combat credibility capability, reassure allies and partners and demonstrate our determination, Navy, to ensure regional stability, counter malign influence.” Anderson was the commander of the USS Abraham Lincoln’s strike group.

The U.S. Navy reported that both carrier groups had been exercising in the Philippine Sea with Japan’s Navy on Sunday. This area includes the waters east of Taiwan.

The news of the U.S. operations coincides with Taiwan reporting the latest mass incursion by China’s air force into its air defence identification zone – 39 aircraft – in an area close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands in the northern reaches of the South China Sea.

Taiwan reported Monday that 13 more Chinese aircraft were in the area. One of them was an antisubmarine Y-8 flying through the Bashi Channel, which connects the Pacific and South China Seas. According to a Taiwan Defence Ministry map,

According to the ministry, two Chinese J-16Ds participated in the mission. However, they were kept near China’s coast. The new electronic attack version (J-16 fighter) was designed to attack anti-aircraft defenses similar to those Taiwan could rely upon to defend itself against an attack.

China has yet to comment, but has previously said such missions are aimed at protecting its sovereignty and to prevent external interference in its sovereignty claims over democratically-governed Taiwan.

Reuters was previously informed by sources familiar with the matter that China’s attacks on Taiwan’s defense zone were likely a response against foreign military activity. Especially U.S. forces are close to the island. This is to alert that Beijing is aware of the situation and can respond to it.

Taiwan labels China’s near military activities as “grey zone warfare”. This was designed to both test Taiwan’s reactions and wear Taiwan’s out forces.

Taiwan claims part of the South China Sea. It is crossed by important shipping routes and contains gas fields.