The United States often sends ships and aircraft into the South China Sea to “flex its muscles” and this is not good for peace, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday, after a U.S. aircraft carrier group sailed into the disputed waterway.
The strategic South China Sea, through which trillions of dollars in trade flows each year, has long been a focus of contention between Beijing and Washington, with China particularly angered by U.S. military activity there.
The U.S. carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt and accompanied by three warships, entered the waterway on Saturday to promote “freedom of the seas”, the U.S. military said, just days after Joe Biden became U.S. president..
“The United States frequently sends aircraft and vessels into the South China Sea to flex its muscles,” the foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, told reporters, responding to the U.S. mission.
“This is not conducive to peace and stability in the region.”
China has repeatedly complained about U.S. Navy ships getting close to islands it occupies in the South China Sea, where Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan all have competing claims.
The carrier group entered the South China Sea at the same time as Chinese-claimed Taiwan reported incursions by Chinese air force jets into the southwestern part of its air defence identification zone, prompting concern from Washington.
China has not commented on what its air force was doing, and Zhao referred questions to the defence ministry.