Two US aircraft carriers, the John C. Stennis and Ronald Reagan, began joint operations in the seas just east of the Philippines over the weekend the US Navy announced on Monday. The operations come during a tense time in the region, as China recently announced that it would not adhere to any unfavorable ruling that may come from The Hague regarding the Philippines formal challenge of territorial claims in the South China Sea.
China has been very clear in its position that the US should stay out of the maritime disputes in the region, however the US has already made it clear that it intends to be the policeman in the region for decades to come, so the move comes as no surprise. Admiral John Richardson, the chief of US Naval Operations said that it was not often the US had two carrier strike groups in the same waters and it was a sign of US commitment to regional security.
"Both here and in the Mediterranean, it's a signal to everyone in the region that we're committed, we're going to be there for our allies, to reassure them and for anyone who wants to destabilize that region. And we hope there's a deterrent message there as well."
A US Pacific Command (PACOM) statement quoted Rear Admiral John D. Alexander, commander of the Ronald Reagan carrier group, as saying it was an opportunity to practice techniques needed to prevail in modern naval operations.
"The US Navy has flown, sailed and operated throughout the Western Pacific in accordance with international law for decades, and will continue to do so."
One additional piece to this story is that as Reuters points out, the People's Daily (the official newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party, which is often used to express foreign policy views), had the following to say about the US decision to send carriers in.
Conveying a so-called message about security through the exhibition of military might, and furthermore describing the events as an act of deterrence is something that the U.S. has done far too many times. Regardless of how many times it may have gone smoothly in other parts of the world the U.S. has chosen the wrong opponent by selecting China for this type of game. Behind all of this is lack of patience and brassy moves and it also reveals a nature of hegemony beneath the surface.
* * *
It is obvious that China is getting tired of the games that the US is playing in the region, and no matter how many times China has warned that the US should stay out of its affairs, the US remains steadfast in its effort to police the region. It is only a matter of time before a confrontation takes place, intentional or otherwise, and then the world will be undoubtedly pushed to the brink of war - which would be bullish for stocks of course.