US Navy supports VINCSG’s South China Sea operation

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      US Navy supports VINCSG’s South China Sea operation
      13 Sep 2021 (Last Updated September 13th, 2021 09:25)

      The US Navy’s Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group (VINCSG) and the Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 have conducted operations in the South China Sea.

      The latest mission marks the first-time operation of the CSG with F-35C Lightning II supersonic multirole fighter and Navy CMV-22B Osprey long-range tiltrotor aircraft platforms in the region.

      It is aimed at promoting the free and open use of Indo-Pacific waters to support security and regional stability.

      VINCSG is providing fleet commanders with the ability to project power in new ways, while CVW 2 uses advanced and layered effects.

      Before entering the South China Sea, VINCSG and CVW-2 conducted joint interoperability operations with UK CSG 21 and participated in Large Scale Exercise (LSE) 2021.

      I missed the earlier reports including an official Navy report that the Vinson was operating in the South China Sea on Sep. 6. I think the presence of both carrier strike forces US/UK in the South China Sea simultaneously presents the Biden phone call to Xi in a somewhat strange light. Perhaps he believed he was speaking from a position of strength or was he trying to reassure Xi when he knew the exercise was regarded as provocative by the Chinese. There is no real freedom of navigation issue. One thing the US considers a “freedom of navigation” issue is that some countries like China want foreign warships, especially those of certain types, submarines, nuclear powered ships, and commercial ships with hazardous cargoes to declare upon entry to environmentally sensitive EEZs. China wants notice of ships carrying nuclear weapons as well. That will never happen. Other countries like India expect the same. The US doesn’t comply. Another matter is that artificial islands like the Mischief Reef are not accorded territorial boundaries by the UNCLOS. This latter issue is de minimis and seems too petty to risk war over. The real issue is the huge oil and gas mineral fields and fishing grounds in the EEZs that China claims.

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