• U.S. Conducts Aircraft Carrier Exercises In South China Sea Amid Rising Balloon Tensions

    February 14, 2023
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    As tensions rise between Beijing and Washington over the Chinese high-altitude balloon that the Air Force shot down last week, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are conducting exercises in the South China Sea.

    According to a statement from the Navy's Seventh Fleet, the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and its strike group conducted drills on February 11 with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The statement did not say when the exercises started or when they would conclude.

    In recent years, the U.S. military has increased its activity in the South China Sea and has formally rejected most of China's claims to the waters. Beijing shares a claim to the South China Sea along with the Phillippines and numerous other Southeast Asian countries.

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    The U.S. involved itself in the dispute over the waters and, under the Obama administration, began sailing warships near islands in the South China Sea that are controlled by Beijing.

    The U.S. has been looking to expand its presence in the region under the Biden administration, and Washington recently signed a deal with the Phillippines, which will give the U.S. access to 4 more military sites in the country.

    The current drills come after Beijing declined a call from U.S. Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, following the U.S. military shooting down a Chinese balloon in U.S. airspace. The Chinese government maintains that the balloon was a weather balloon, while Washington has claimed that it was a spy device.

    While Beijing refused to take Austin's call, U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, canceled a planned trip to China when the balloon was first discovered in U.S. airspace. Since shooting down the Chinese spy balloon, the U.S. military has downed at least two unidentified objects in U.S. airspace, but the White House does not believe the other objects are Chinese balloons.

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    Jen Snow

    Jen Snow is a former paralegal turned freelance writer who has a passion for foreign affairs. When not writing, she can be found curled up with her dog and a good book or outside playing in the Florida sun.
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