President Donald Trump’s administration Friday deployed the USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carriers to the South China Sea when relations between the United States and China are becoming increasingly strained.
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“Nimitz and Reagan Carrier Strike Groups are operating in the South China Sea, wherever international law allows, to reinforce our commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, a rules-based international order, and to our allies and partners in the region,” the Nimitz Commander Rear Admiral Jim Kirk stated.
On July 4, the U.S. government also deployed these attack groups to carry out military maneuvers in that area. On that occasion, Washington was also trying to intimidate Beijing, which claims sovereignty in areas of the South China Sea that the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Brunei also long for.
The U.S. Navy holds that its aircraft carriers deployment "is not a response" to any specific global or political event, but part of regular maneuvers to develop "tactical interoperability."
On July 13, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement through which the United States called China's territorial claims in almost the entire sea "unlawful."
"We are making clear: Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful," Pompeo stated.
After an extensive listing of all territorial claims that the United States has unilaterally decided not to accept, the Secretary of State concluded by stressing that his country "stands with our Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources."
The U.S. government aims to define who should have the sovereignty of 90 percent of the waters of the South China Sea, a geopolitical zone through which 30 percent of global trade circulates. All this without mentioning that this region also contains large oil and gas fields.