According to a new report, Chinese bombers simulated an assault on the USS Theodore Roosevelt when it maneuvered in the South China Sea.
On Saturday, the carrier and support group entered the disputed area. Business Insider said that China flew one Y-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft, four J-16 fighter jets, and eight H-6K bombers on the same day.
The Financial Times reported, “one person familiar with the incident” 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,” Institute for National Defense and Security Research analyst Su Tzu-Yun said.
The report also noted that China’s People’s Liberation Army flew 11 aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense zone on the same day and 15 aircraft into the zone on Sunday.
Capt. Mike Kafka, US Indo-Pacific Command spokesperson, told the outlet, “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 continued that the activities are the latest in successive 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,” Kafka said, adding that the U.S. would continue to sail, fly, and operate where international law allows.
A speculation report in Global Times, a China’s state-sponsored outlet, said: “The PLA bomber swarm aimed to deter the US carrier and used the warship as a simulated target in an exercise.”
The State Department then stated to condemn any attempt to pressure Taiwan.
“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,” said the statement.
The country’s commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid and maintains peace and stability within the region and across the Taiwan Strait.
The Navy also claimed that the carrier group is scheduled to be deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet, ensuring “freedom of the seas, build partnerships that foster maritime security, and conduct a wide range of operations.”