The US and France flex their muscles in the South China Sea and heighten Beijing’s anger

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Two US carrier groups are conducting exercises in China’s disputed waters and enraging Beijing just as France announced that one of its attack submarines had sailed through the zone.

  • The aircraft carriers Theodore Roosevelt and Nimitz “carried out a large number of exercises aimed at increasing interoperability between the systems as well as the command and control capabilities,” said the US Navy.

  • This came days after the USS John S. McCain was dispatched to “enforce navigational rights and freedoms near the Paracel Islands,” an archipelago disputed by Vietnam, Taiwan and China.

  • A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry condemned the current military exercises as a “show of force”.

  • French Defense Minister Florence Parly said Monday evening that a French attack submarine and its support ship had just sailed across the South China Sea to join Australia, Japan and the US in reaffirming that “international law is the only rule that matters “.

  • International powers challenged China’s ambitions over most of the resource-rich area after Beijing established military outposts on reefs and sandbars that were turned into man-made islands to claim sovereignty over the 12-mile zone of territorial waters.

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