U.S. Flexes its Muscles in South China Sea

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

USS Ashland

Tokyo- (PanOrient News) U.S. Carrier Strike Group 5, including the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), is conducting "routine operations" in the South China Sea in what observers consider an indirect message to China who is reportidly trying to "turn it into a Chinese lake".

The group includes Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and USS Shiloh (CG 67); Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers from Destroyer Squadron (DESRON); 15 and aircraft from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 – all of which have been operating in the Philippine Sea to maintain and improve their readiness and develop their cohesion as a strike group prior to their operations in the South China Sea.

Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5 partnered with the John C. Stennis Strike Group on June 18-19 to conduct Dual Carrier operations, maintaining the interoperability between the ships and the air wings.

"Our forward-deployed ships are operating here to maintain the seas open for all to use," said Rear Admiral John D. Alexander, commander, Task Force 70 (CTF 70). "The U.S. Navy has flown, sailed and operated throughout the Western Pacific in accordance with international law for over a century, and will continue to do so."

In recent months, many U.S. Navy ships have conducted similar events in the 7th Fleet area of operations including the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Decatur (DDG 73), USS Momsen (DDG 92) and USS Spruance (DDG 111) as part of 3rd Fleet's Pacific Surface Action Group.

Routine transits like this, conducted in international waters, demonstrate the U.S. Navy's commitment to protecting the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea and airspace guaranteed to all countries, according to the U.S. Navy.

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