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US aircraft carrier enters South China Sea, raising fears of new tensions

Comes after Beijing’s warning to Washington against challenging its sovereignty in the region.
A U.S. Navy aircraft carrier strike group has begun patrols in the South China Sea (SCS), an official statement said.

The U.S. Navy in the statement announced the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1 began the routine patrols on Saturday.

The group included a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 1’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108), and aircraft from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2.

“Prior to their operations in the SCS, ships and aircraft from within the strike group conducted training off the islands of Hawaii and Guam to maintain and improve their readiness and develop cohesion as a strike group,” the statement said.

The development comes after China’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday warned the United States against challenging Beijing’s sovereignty in the region.

China claims almost the entire SCS, and reacting to the visit of the aircraft carrier, its ministry of foreign affairs warned the US it should not challenge China’s sovereignty in the region.

“China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters. China respects and upholds the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea which countries enjoy under international law, but firmly opposes any country’s attempt to undermine China’s sovereignty and security in the name of the freedom of navigation and overflight,” ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said on the “routine patrol” by the US aircraft carrier.

The area, where the group is patrolling, is a disputed area; China has been asserting its rule over the waterway despite territorial claims from a number of other east Asian nations — Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, the Voice of America said.

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