US aircraft carriers conduct military drills in South China Sea

Manoeuvres coincide with ones launched by Beijing near the Paracel Islands, which are claimed by both Vietnam and China.

Two US aircraft carriers conducted exercises in the disputed South China Sea on Saturday with China also carrying out manoeuvres that have been criticised by the Pentagon and neighbouring states.

The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were performed operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific”, a US Navy statement said.

It did not say exactly where the exercises were being conducted in the South China Sea, which extends for 1,500 km (900 miles) and 90 percent of which is claimed by China despite the protests of its neighbours.

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