A new report claims that Chinese bombers simulated an attack on the USS Theodore Roosevelt during its maneuvers in the South China Sea.
The carrier and its support group entered the disputed region last Saturday, which was the same day China flew eight H-6K bombers, four J-16 fighter jets, and one Y-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft near Taiwan, according to Business Insider.
The Financial Times, quoting what it said was “one person familiar with the incident” who it did not name, said that “Pilots of H-6 bombers could be heard in cockpit conversations confirming orders for the simulated targeting and release of anti-ship missiles against the carrier.”
The operation was “clearly a display of threat against surface ships,” said Su Tzu-yun, an analyst at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research.
The report noted that China’s People’s Liberation Army sent 11 aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense zone last Saturday and 15 aircraft into the zone the next day.
US Indo-Pacific Command spokesperson Capt. Mike Kafka told Business Insider “the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group closely monitored all People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and Air Force (PLAAF) activity, and at no time did they pose a threat to US Navy ships, aircraft, or Sailors.”
Kafka said that “the PLA activities highlighted here, are the latest in a string of aggressive and destabilizing actions.”
“These actions reflect a continued PLA attempt to use its military as a tool to intimidate or coerce those operating in international waters and airspace, to include their neighbors and those with competing territorial claims,” he said, adding that the “United States will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, demonstrating resolve through our operational presence throughout the region.”
A report in China’s state-sponsored Global Times speculated that “the PLA bomber swarm aimed to deter the US carrier and used the warship as a simulated target in an exercise.”
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“The United States notes with concern the pattern of ongoing PRC attempts to intimidate its neighbors, including Taiwan. We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected representatives,” the statement said.
“We will stand with friends and allies to advance our shared prosperity, security, and values in the Indo-Pacific region — and that includes deepening our ties with democratic Taiwan. The United States will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues, consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people on Taiwan,” the statement said.
“Our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region,” the statement said.
A Navy statement said the carrier group “is on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet to ensure freedom of the seas, build partnerships that foster maritime security, and conduct a wide range of operations.”
The carrier is accompanied by the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill, and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Russell and USS John Finn.
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