After the United States confirmed that the Chinese have landed 16 J-11 fighter jets on one of its artificial islands the U.S. Pacific Command has ordered the USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group to maneuver back in the West Philippine Sea.
Just before the Foal Eagle exercise with South Korea, the Stennis carrier strike group has been in the region for the past two weeks for its naval training with the allied nations until the end of March. But immediately ordered to turn back for its new mission wherein tensions are brewing in the West Philippine Sea.
Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is now in the Philippines to visit two of the five Philippine military bases where American forces will have access under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) including the on-going Balikatan exercises in Palawan.
Secretary Ash Carter tells reporters in Manila that “we are strengthening our military role in the region”, as China increasingly asserts its territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Secretary Carter is also set to visit the Stennis carrier group on its patrol in the West Philippine Sea, a clear sign to China that the United States Military is ready and not playing around. – Jason E.