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China has slammed what it calls the United States flexing its muscles in the South China Sea to try to provoke tensions and conflict among countries of the region. But the Pentagon has called the maneuvers by two supercarriers sent to the region days ago, namely the USS Ronald Reagan and USS Nimitz, an act of standing up “for the right of all nations to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows” and further as a “symbol of resolve”.

Each carrier has 90 or more aircraft and about 6,000 personnel, making it a significant display of force off China’s coast. Given this, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is said to be tracking their movements closely, with Chinese vessels said to be within eyesight of the US carriers. 

The carriers have been conducting flight drills since exercises commenced on July 4. Nimitz commander Rear Admiral James Kirk told reporters in a telephone interview: “They have seen us and we have seen them” – in reference to a nearby Chinese flotilla.

Aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan is one of two currently operating in the South China Sea.

Interestingly, the US Navy and Chinese state-run newspaper

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