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Two US Navy ships enter the South China Sea.

Image Credit: SCS Probing Initiative

Open source intelligence revealed that on Friday two US navy ships have entered the South China Sea via the Karimata Strait. The USS Makin’ Island Wasp-class amphibious assault ship (LHD-8) and USS Anchorage (LPD-23) deployment in the South China Sea is a routine Indo-Pacific deployment which was pre-planned a month ago.

On December 18th, the 13th US Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) on USS Makin Island and USS Anchorage conducted training with the Indonesian navy ships in the Pacific Ocean for the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training/ Marine Exercise (MAREX) Indonesia 2022.

USS Makin Island and USS Anchorage sailing alongside Indonesian naval ships during the exercise, December 18th, 2022. Image Credit: SeaWaves Magazine.

Aircraft such as F-16, F-35 and P-8 were also used in December 18th exercise. The South China Sea is a disputed area between several countries. China claims practically the whole 1.3 million square miles of the sea. Several years ago, satellite images showed China carrying out land reclamation on several reefs. On these lands China built military bases and also a runway, on lands that which are not recognized as theirs according to international law. This has caused an uproar in several countries where most of that area consisting of both land and water, is claimed by Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. The recurring presence of the US Navy is meant to bring a balance in the military presence in the South China Sea, and to send a direct message to China to stop breaking international law and expanding further.

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