A top Chinese newspaper has slammed the US for deploying two aircraft carriers along with their accompanying ships to the Philippine Sea to conduct training drills near the South China Sea.
“The US picked the wrong target in playing this trick on China,” said The People’s daily in a commentary on Wednesday. The newspaper belongs to the country’s ruling Communist Party.
The US Pacific Command (PACOM) said on Sunday that USS John C. Stennis and USS Ronald Reagan sailed close together in the Philippine Sea, as part of operations which involved 12,000 sailors, 140 aircraft and six smaller warships.
“Behind this misjudgment is Washington’s anxiety and arrogance, and it is the true expression of its hegemonic nature,” the Chinese paper said.
It was published under the name of “Voice of China” that is mainly used to express the daily’s views on China’s foreign policy.
The PACOM said the aircraft carriers began their operations on Saturday, including defensive air combat training, air defense exercises, long-range strikes and sea surveillance.
China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, which is also claimed in part by Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines. The waters are believed to sit atop vast reserves of oil and gas.
The dispute has at times drawn in trans-regional countries, particularly the US.
Recently, the US has increased its presence in the Asia-Pacific region through its so-called pivot strategy, which critics denounce as a provocative policy.
Beijing accuses Washington of meddling in regional issues and deliberately stirring up tensions in the South China Sea.