(RFA) – Three aircraft carriers and a dozen other warships from U.S.-allied nations sailed on the fringes of the South China Sea this week in one of the biggest shows of Western maritime might in the region for years.
Those drills in the Philippine Sea will be followed by two weeks of large-scale military exercises in the South China Sea – sending a message to Beijing and asserting the freedom of navigation in an increasingly tense Indo-Pacific.
“This is probably the first time since the Taiwan Strait crisis in 1996 that we saw these kind of carrier-based operations,” said Richard Bitzinger, senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore.
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