The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) is seen here entering the South China Sea on the footage shared by US Navy.
The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
During the South China Sea training, 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, all of this being of the US 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.
According to the Commander US Pacific Fleet statement, maintaining the freedom of the sea in the South China Sea is of vital importance where nearly a third of global maritime trade, about 3.5 trillion USD (2.5 trillion GBP), a third of global crude oil and half of global liquefied natural gas pass through the area each year.
Ronald Reagan, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 5 entered the contested waters to conduct maritime security operations in order to provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the United States, as well as the collective maritime interests of its allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region.
As the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed fleet, the 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.
Will Pennington, commander, Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, said: “The South China Sea is pivotal to the free flow of commerce that fuels the economies of those nations committed to international law and rules-based order.
“It is both a privilege and a pleasure to work alongside our allies, partners, and joint service teammates to provide full-spectrum support to key maritime commons and ensure all nations continue to benefit from a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”
The South China Sea has become one of many hotbeds in the difficult relationship between China and the United States, with Washington rejecting what it calls Beijing’s illegal land claims in resource-rich waters.
US warships have been crossing the South China Sea with increasing frequency in recent years, in a show of force against Chinese claims.