China defends South China Sea military buildup

US sailors stand on the flight deck while an FA-18 hornet fighter jet takes off during a routine training aboard US aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt in the South China sea on Tuesday

The usTheodore Roosevelt's presence inside the South China Sea comes days after China carried out large air and naval drills inside the area - in what some analysts described as an unusually huge present of Beijing's rising naval might.

As fighter jets streaked overhead, a US aircraft carrier sailed through the disputed South China Sea on Tuesday in the latest display of America's military might after China built a string of islands with military facilities to assert its claims in the strategic waters, sparking regional alarm.

China's claims in the South China Sea overlap in whole or in part those of Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and US treaty partner the Philippines. -China tensions over Beijing's territorial claims.

"What we see now is a show of force and a counter show of force in the South China Sea", said Roilo Golez, a former Philippine national security adviser and congressman.

Meanwhile, America's Theodore Roosevelt Nimitz-class carrier strike group was said last week to be traveling to the center of the South China Sea along with warships from allies, following a port visit in Singapore.

"They're certainly one of many navies that perform inside the South China Sea".

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Those exercises follow ones at the contested sea comprising China's sole operating aircraft company that come amid deployments and drills from the rival U.S. Navy.

"All of the operations that we do in and around the South China Sea or any of the bodies of water we operate in, there is a function of worldwide law and that is ultimately what we want to recognize", Koehler said.

"We're trying to see if we can achieve an agreement, hopefully within the next couple of months", Jose Santiago Santa Romana, Philippine ambassador to the People's Republic of China, told a news conference held on China's island province of Hainan.

Even with China continually on edge, the US has reaffirmed that it will continue to not only keep a noticeable presence, but also conduct necessary drills as needed.

As the crew in color-coded uniforms raced to service dozens of aircraft taking off and landing, "handlers" in the flight deck control made sure the deck had enough room for jets to maneuver and refuel with the help of a "Ouija board". At any given moment, the flight deck is home to dozens of aircraft and helicopters.



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