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Ronald Reagan was a warrior for peace through strength.
Now his namesake carrier is heading for the South China sea in an effort to display to the communist dictatorship of China that they're not going to get away with their mounting aggression.
China and the United States have accused each other of stoking tension in the strategic waterway at a time of strained relations over everything from the new coronavirus to trade to Hong Kong.
The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy said in a statement.
It did not say exactly where the exercises were being conducted in the South China Sea, which extends for some 1,500 km (900 miles) and 90% of which is claimed by China despite the protests of its neighbours.
“The purpose is to show an unambiguous signal to our partners and allies that we are committed to regional security and stability,” Rear Admiral George M. Wikoff was quoted as saying by the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the exercises."
The show of strength comes behind increasing hostile actions by the Chinese regime, including military border skirmishes with the Indian military in recent weeks.
Our friends at Fox News provide more context behind the US decision:
USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan are now in the South China Sea for military drills, a U.S. Navy official confirms to Fox News.
"The purpose is to show an unambiguous signal to our partners and allies that we are committed to regional security and stability," Rear Adm. George Wikoff told the Wall Street Journal, which was the first media to report the exercises likely to irk Beijing.
The drills, to support a free and open Indo-Pacific and promote an international rules-based order, also included "round-the-clock flights testing the striking ability of carrier-based aircraft," he added.
The South China Sea is where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple territorial disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons. The waters are a major shipping route for global commerce and are rich in fish and possible oil and gas reserves.
China’s People’s Liberation Army had been staging exercises off the Paracel Islands in the disputed South China Sea since July 1, angering the Philippines, and Chinese maritime officials have prohibited all vessels from navigating within the area of the maneuvers."
The propaganda arm of the Communist Party, The Global Times, issued its response to the US show of strength:
In a rare move, the US is sending three aircraft carriers to waters near China as bilateral tensions rise, a move interpreted by foreign media as a warning to China. Chinese military experts said on Sunday that the US move again exposed its hegemonic politics in the region, and China could counter it by holding military drills and showing its ability and determination to safeguard its territorial integrity.
China possesses aircraft carrier killer weapons like the DF-21D and DF-26 anti-ship ballistic missiles.
The three US aircraft carriers, namely the USS Theodore Roosevelt, USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan, together with other US naval warships and aircraft, are patrolling the Indo-Pacific waters, the Associated Press reported on Friday.
It has been nearly three years since so many US aircraft carriers have been simultaneously deployed in the region, the report said, noting this move comes as tensions between China and the US are rising over topics like COVID-19, Hong Kong's national security law and the South China Sea.
All three aircraft carriers were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, which left the US with no aircraft carriers in the western Pacific region for more than two months.
By massing these aircraft carriers, the US is attempting to demonstrate to the whole region and even the world that it remains the most powerful naval force, as they could enter the South China Sea and threaten Chinese troops on the Xisha and Nansha islands as well as vessels passing through nearby waters, so the US could carry out its hegemonic politics, Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert, told the Global Times.
China could counter the US move by enhancing its own war preparedness and holding corresponding drills, telling the US that China is capable of and determined to safeguard its territorial integrity, Li said."
China is an existential threats to their neighbors.
They began flexing their muscles by overwhelming a comparatively weak Tibet, for instance.
Now they are getting more and more audacious, and the current crisis with India proves that.
From the Corona Virus pandemic to the subjugation of Hong Kong, China is a threat to civilized society and now is the time to put them back in their place.