The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) aircraft carrier traveled to the Philippines amid efforts by Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte to set aside differences with China in order to court future Chinese investment and trade.
China, which claims the entire South China Sea, views the US presence in the region as a provocation.
Washington insists China has disproportionately increased its deployment on several islands in the South China Sea, which are also partially claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
Tensions intensified last month when China landed bombers on a island, while it deployed missiles on another island in the disputed waters. The Pentagon said the deployment was part of China’s “intimidation”.
The USS Ronald Reagan has made a visit to the Philippines amid rising tensions in the South China Sea region.
The aircraft carrier docked in Manila on Tuesday after sailing through waters that have been subject of competing claims between China and several countries in the region.
Rear Admiral Marc Dalton, the commander of the nuclear-powered carrier, said that the presence was meant to reassure Washington’s allies that the USA would have an enduring presence in the region.
ABC Flash Point Pacific News 2018.