US, China shore up military presence in South China Sea, escalating tensions

Published (HKT): 2021.04.22 19:12

The United States and China have reinforced their military presence in the disputed South China Sea, exerting tensions in the region amid increasing live-fire exercises.

China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy on Thursday published images on Weibo — the country’s Twitter-like social media platform — showing its military drills in the region using self-developed Type 073 landing ships. Other images revealed the navy’s artillery and other equipment on board.

The move came after the U.S. Navy’s USS Theodore Roosevelt Nimitz-class aircraft carrier returned to the South China Sea on Monday, after replenishing supplies and undergoing a personnel rotation in Guam in the western Pacific Ocean.

The U.S. Navy has recently conducted joint exercises with several Asia-Pacific countries, including Malaysia and Japan, which were widely believed to be in response to Beijing dispatching a new record high of 25 warplanes to Taiwan’s airspace last week.

According to location data published by the U.S. Naval Institute, other vessels in the USS Roosevelt aircraft carrier battle group included the USS Bunker Hill Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser and the USS Russell Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

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