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Pentagon sends two carrier groups into South China Sea amid tensions with Beijing

Pentagon sends two carrier groups into South China Sea amid tensions with Beijing
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Amid condemnation from Chinese officials, two U.S. aircraft carrier groups conducted joint exercises in the South China Sea, the Navy said in a statement Tuesday.

The Navy said that the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group and the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group “conducted a multitude of exercises aimed at increasing interoperability between assets as well as command and control capabilities,” according to Reuters. The activity reportedly marked the first operations by two U.S. carriers in the region in about seven months.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the U.S. move constituted a deliberate “show of force” and undermined stability in the region.

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“China will continue to take necessary measures to firmly safeguard national sovereignty and security and work with countries in the region to firmly safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea,” he said, according to the news service.

U.S. officials have accused Beijing of seeking to militarize the waterway and ignoring contradictory claims from smaller nations such as Malaysia and Vietnam.

“We are committed to ensuring the lawful use of the sea that all nations enjoy under international law,” Rear Adm. Jim Kirk, commander of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Late last week, the USS John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP Ex-McSally aide pleads guilty to stealing over 0K in campaign funds DOJ: Arizona recount could violate civil rights laws MORE sailed close to the Paracel Islands, a disputed archipelago in the South China Sea, in the first freedom of navigation operation since President BidenJoe BidenKinzinger, Gaetz get in back-and-forth on Twitter over Cheney vote Cheney in defiant floor speech: Trump on 'crusade to undermine our democracy' US officials testify on domestic terrorism in wake of Capitol attack MORE took office. The U.S. also sailed U.S. warships through the Taiwan Strait last week for the first time under the Biden’s presidency, sparking condemnation from Beijing.