US warships in South China Sea

This file aerial view taken on July 27, 2012, shows part of the Woody Island in the disputed Paracel chain.
This file aerial view taken on July 27, 2012, shows part of the Woody Island in the disputed Paracel chain. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON • The United States Navy has deployed an aircraft carrier and several ships in the disputed waters of the South China Sea in recent days, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.

The carrier USS John C. Stennis arrived in the South China Sea on Tuesday , accompanied by the cruiser USS Mobile Bay and the destroyers USS Stockdale and USS Chung-Hoon, said Navy Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the US Pacific Fleet, the paper reported.

Commander Doss said the aircraft carrier group is carrying out a routine patrol of the South China Sea and would make regular appearances in the waters, where tensions have risen over China's territorial disputes with Vietnam and the Philippines.

The deployment of the group, along with thousands of US sailors, comes as the Japan- based USS Antietam cruiser is also patrolling the South China Sea. Another destroyer and an amphibious dock landing ship had also made similar patrols last week, the paper cited the commander as saying.

The US, which has been sailing near disputed areas to emphasise the right of freedom of navigation, had warned China this week against its recent actions, like the deployment of surface- to-air missiles on the disputed Woody Island.

The latest show of force also comes after the US military said on Wednesday that the US, Japan and India will hold naval exercises in waters off the northern Philippines near the South China Sea this year.

Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan also have claims on the waters, via which about US$5 trillion (S$6.9 trillion) in trade is shipped yearly.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 05, 2016, with the headline 'US warships in South China Sea'. Print Edition | Subscribe