The massive show of force was praised as ?freedom at its finest?
The US Navy staged a drill with Japanese allies in the Philippine Sea, showing off two aircraft carriers, two amphibious ships, and dozens of fighter jets, amid persistent regional tensions with China.
Supercarriers USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) led the drill, flanked by amphibious assault ships USS America (LHA-6) and USS Essex. Guided missile cruisers USS Mobile Bay (CG-53) and USS Lake Champlain (CG-57) also took part in the drill, along with 26 aircraft and the destroyers USS Spruance (DDG-111), USS Chafee (DDG-90), and USS Gridley (DDG-101).
Japan aided the drill with its own destroyer, JS Hyuga (DDH-181).
Vice Admiral Karl Thomas, the commander of the US 7th Fleet, called the show of strength "freedom at its finest," and claimed that nothing reaffirms Washington's commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific like two carrier strike groups and two amphibious ready groups "sailing alongside our close friends from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force."
The drill was conducted somewhere in the Philippine Sea that includes waters east of Taiwan. It was the largest of its kind since the US, UK, and Japan held a massive exercise southeast of Okinawa last October.
China conducted its own military stunt in the region on Sunday, alarming Taiwan with a flyby of 39 aircraft, including a bomber, which were accused of entering the island's Air Defense Identification Zone. China has been using such flybys as a means of sending a signal that it does not recognize Taiwan's claims of independence.