The United States have decided to flex its muscles in the South China Sea to reassure regional allies and send a clear message to China, whose claims on the area appear more and more explicit.
Two Americans Carrier Strike Group (CSG), each composed of a aircraft carriers and other warships of large size, started last Saturday a series of military exercises in the territorial waters of the Philippines, a key ally in the dispute for the control of the South Asian seas.
The drill involved the nuclear-powered aircraft carriers Ronald Reagan and John C. Stennis, 12,000 sailors, 140 aircraft and six battleships, a few days from the judgment that an international court is preparing to issue about the Chinese claims on the disputed sea stretches. The message is clear: the US does not intend to leave field to the Chinese opponent and regional allies, from the Philippines, will not be left alone in the face of Beijing’s pressures.
The American ships began to carry out air defense, maritime surveillance and long-range attack maneuvers, showcasing their firepower not far from the disputed waters, in which China continues its constructive activities of artificial atolls for civilian and military purposes.
The intent of the drills, in the formal language of the navy information bulletins, would be to promote the freedom of navigation and overflight in the waters and on the skies of the area. The statements that come from commands better clarify the purpose of the drill: ” (This) has been a great opportunity for us to train on how we would operate multiple Carrier Strike Sroups in a contested environment” explained Admiral John Alexander .
By Philippine, military mobilization is the clear demonstration that the US is determined to give credence to their ” ironclad commitment”, reiterated on several occasions, in favor Asian ally. ” e welcome the strong cooperation and partnership we have with our friends and allies … in light of (the dispute) where our legitimate rights have been overstepped” said Peter Galvez, spokesman of the Philippine Department of Defense.
The reference is to the decision, expected in a few weeks, in which the Court of Permanent Arbitration of The Hague will speak about the legitimacy of the Beijing claims on the the South China Sea waters, one of the most important navigable areas of the world, from economic and strategic points of view, on which also overlook Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan and on which the interests of China, US and Japan gather.
The ruling will likely be favorable to the Philippines, which addressed to the international court to counter Chinese expansion. China, for its part, has decided to ignore the court, to which does not recognize any jurisdiction over the matter, and did not take part in the proceedings.