The United States has deployed four warships, including an aircraft carrier, east of Taiwan, an autonomous island whose territory is claimed by China.
The situation came amid the visit of the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to Taiwan.
A US Navy official told Reuters, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the four vessels are:
- the aircraft carrier “USS Ronald Reagan”
- the guided missile cruiser “USS Antietam”
- the destroyer-type ship “USS Higgins”
- the amphibious assault ship “USS Tripoli”
The USS Ronald Reagan transited the South China Sea and is currently in the Philippine Sea, east of Taiwan and the Philippines and south of Japan. The exact location, however, was not reported.
What can ships do?
The cruiser is a type of warship used for escorting and reconnaissance of a fleet.
The destroyer, on the other hand, serves to escort large ships, whether in a naval squadron or in a convoy of vessels, monitor and defend the others.
The naval official interviewed by Reuters called the ships “able to respond to any eventuality”. However, mobilizations for the region would be “normal and routine”.
The USS Ronald Reagan is the flagship of the “Carrier Strike Group 5”, a US Navy strike group.
The vessel, commanded by Captain Fred Goldhammer, is the ninth nuclear-powered aircraft carrier of the class. Nimitz and was classified by the US Navy website as “a combat-ready force that protects and defends the US and supports alliances, partnerships and collective maritime interests in the Indo-Pacific region.”
Its construction began in 1988, in Virginia. In 2004, the vessel left the naval base to sail in Latin America en route to its new port in San Diego, California.
In 2007, the ship was even used to provide humanitarian assistance to victims of Typhoon Fengshen in the Philippines.
In a new mission, it helped when an earthquake of magnitude killed thousands in Japan in 2011. Since 2015, its new port is in Yokosuka.
The USS Tripoli is the largest amphibious ship at sea. The first amphibious assault ship with the name USS Tripoli served in Vietnam and during the Gulf War.
In response, missiles were fired from China during military exercises around Taiwan. For US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, he was an unwarranted escalation. But Beijing has said it will impose sanctions on US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi for visiting the island.
Diplomatic relations took a turn for the worse on Friday as China’s Foreign Ministry said it would cancel talks between US and Chinese military leaders and suspend bilateral talks on climate and maritime security.
Blinken said Washington has repeatedly made it clear to Beijing that it is not seeking a crisis, amid diplomatic turmoil over Pelosi’s visit this week to the autonomous island that Beijing considers part of its sovereign territory.
“There is no justification for this extreme, disproportionate and escalating military response,” Blinken said. “Now, they’ve taken dangerous acts to a new level.”
China launched its biggest-ever military exercises in the seas and skies around Taiwan on Thursday, a day after Pelosi angered Beijing by making a solidarity trip to the island in the US’s highest-profile visit to Taiwan in 25 years.
The live shooting drills are scheduled to continue until noon on Sunday.
Another negative reaction came from the Russian authorities. Fur telegramspokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria zakharovaaccused Washington of destabilizing the world.
China considers Taiwan to be a province that has not yet been reunited with the rest of its territory after the end of the Chinese civil war. With that, Beijing repeatedly cites the chance to regain territory in the region, with the possibility of using force if deemed necessary. (With international agencies)