WASHINGTON D.C.: In defiance of China, a U.S. aircraft carrier group is sailing through the South China Sea, which China claims as its own.
Led by the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, the U.S. Navy described the operation as a routine mission.
In the recent past, China has objected to the presence of the U.S. Navy in the South China Sea. The current sailing follows an angry Chinese response to the Group of Seven nations issuing a statement scolding Beijing over a range of issues.
"While in the South China Sea, the strike group is conducting maritime security operations, which include flight operations with fixed and rotary wing aircraft, maritime strike exercises, and coordinated tactical training between surface and air units," the U.S. Navy said.
"Carrier operations in the South China Sea are part of the U.S. Navy's routine presence in the Indo-Pacific."
The carrier is being accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh and the guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey, the statement added.
China has enlarged its military presence in the South China Sea to include building artificial islands and air bases.
The United States has long rejected Chinese claims to the South China Sea. U.S. warships have passed through the South China Sea with increasing frequency in recent years, in a show of force to China and American allies in Asia against Chinese claims.