“China respects and upholds the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea which countries enjoy under international law, but firmly opposes any country’s attempt to undermine China’s sovereignty and security in the name of the freedom of navigation and overflight,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said after noting that they are aware of the report that United States Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group may conduct freedom of navigation operations (FONOPS) in South China Sea.
“We hope that countries outside the region will respect efforts made by China and ASEAN countries, and join the endeavour to sustain the positive momentum,” the Chinese spokesperson added.
“We also urge the US to refrain from challenging China’s sovereignty and security and to respect regional countries’ efforts to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea,” Geng Shuang said.
Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group departed Naval Base San Diego in San Diego, California January 5 for a “regularly scheduled deployment” to the western Pacific.
While operating within US Navy 7th Fleets AOR, the Carrier Strike Group will remain to be under the command of US 3rd Fleet command and control. US 3rd Fleet is responsible for the eastern and northern Pacific ocean. Both 7th and 3rd Fleet are under United States Pacific Fleet.
“Our forward presence contributes to freedom of navigation and lawful use of the sea, as well as furthers operational training and enabling the exchange of culture, skills, and tactical knowledge,” said Rear Admiral James W. Kilby, commander of Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group (CSG 1).