Monday, October 22, 2012
U.S. flexes muscle in disputed South China Sea
A U.S. aircraft carrier group sailed through disputed South China Sea territory on Saturday, an area that may be part of a new U.S. strategy in its competition with China. The oil-filled waters are home to islands disputed between China and the other smaller Asian nations.
Vietnamese government officials were flown onto the USS George Washington, highlighting the military relationship between Vietnam and the U.S.
The mission came one day after China launched military exercises near islands in the nearby East China Sea it disputes with U.S ally Japan.
The U.S. is building closer fiscal and military ties with Vietnam and other nations in the region, a change meant to counter strong Chinese influence, as China becomes bolder in asserting its claims there.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, where the U.S. says it has a national interest in making sure major shipping lanes navigation is unimpeded.
"It is our goal to see the region's nations figure out these tensions ... on their own, our role of that to date is to conduct freedom of navigation exercises within international waters," Capt. Gregory Fenton said to the Washington Post, adding that the mission was aimed in part at improving relations with Vietnam and ensuring the U.S. had free passage in the South China Sea.
For more of the Washington Post story: washingtonpost.com
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