- A US aircraft carrier and its strike group are now operating in the South China Sea.
- The ships were moved to the region amid tensions between China and the United States.
- China has signaled that it may take military action if President Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan.
A US aircraft carrier and its strike group are now in the South China Sea in what could potentially become a tense standoff in hotly contested waters near Taiwan.
Speaking to Insider on Wednesday evening, US Navy spokesman Mark Langford confirmed the ships were on the move and operating in the South China Sea.
The aircraft carrier left Singapore after making a scheduled port call on July 22.
According to Langford, the carrier “continues normal and scheduled operations as part of its routine patrol in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
The news comes less than a day after the release of a report on the Pentagon’s preparations to protect President Nancy Pelosi with fighter jets and ships should she travel to Taiwan.
Pelosi was due to travel to the island in April. However, the trip was postponed after testing positive for COVID-19.
According to the Financial Times, Pelosi should tentatively visiting the island in august.
Meanwhile, China warned this week of a possible military response if Pelosi’s trip goes ahead.
“If the United States insists on going its own way, the Chinese military will never sit idly by, and it will certainly take strong measures to thwart any interference from outside force,” he added. said Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Defense.
If Pelosi visits Taiwan, she would be the highest ranking US official to visit the island since Republican Newt Gingrich made the trip in 1997.
The possibility of Pelosi traveling to Taiwan comes at a tense time. China has become more aggressive with Taiwan, flying more military aircraft near the island and even deploy an armada of sand dredgers to carve sand from the Taiwanese coast in June 2021.
The United States generally views Taiwan as “strategic ambiguity— not recognizing its independence, while supplying it with weapons. CIA chief Bill Burns also said this month that China was likely learning from Russia’s failures in Ukraine and calibrating “how and when” of a possible invasion of the island.
Meanwhile, Chinese leader Xi Jinping has repeatedly said that China must reunite with Taiwanwhich he considers a separatist province.
Although Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan has not been confirmed, she is expected to visit Japan, Indonesia and Singapore.
As of now, Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan has not been confirmed, but other stops including Japan, Indonesia and Singapore are being considered for her Asia tour next month, per Bloomberg.