US navy aircraft carrier begins patrols in the South China Sea
Washington, Feb 19: A US navy aircraft carrier strike group has begun patrols in the South China Sea, an official statement said.
The US navy in the statement announced the Carrier Strike Group 1 began the routine patrols on Saturday.
The group included a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 1's Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108), and aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 2.
"Prior to their operations in the South China Sea, ships and aircraft from within the strike group conducted training off the islands of Hawaii and Guam to maintain and improve their readiness and develop cohesion as a strike group," the statement said.
The development comes after China's foreign ministry on Wednesday warned the US against challenging Beijing's sovereignty in the region.
The area where the group is patrolling is a disputed area; China has been asserting its rule over the waterway despite territorial claims from a number of other east Asian nations, the Voice of America said.
Nations competing with China for claims to parts of the South China Sea include Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Taiwan also claims part of the area.