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US Carrier Strike Group Arrives in East Sea

The United States has sent an aircraft carrier strike group into the East Sea.

According to a press release circulated on Friday by the US Navy's Seventh Fleet, the USS John S. Stennis, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier and four other vessels have been operating in the East Sea since March 1.

It added that Chinese naval ships were “in the vicinity.”

The US Navy downplayed the group’s presence as a routine deployment, part of regular patrols in the area. In 2015, US Pacific Fleet ships spent a total of 700 days in the East Sea.

Despite fierce protests from neighboring counties, China has spent the better part of the last two years morphing East Sea islands and atolls into strategic military footholds (destroying the natural environment in the process).

In recent weeks, tensions have ramped up as satellite imagery exposed rapid militarization on the disputed Woody Island in the form of missile batteries, fighter jets and radar stations.

[Photo via CNN]

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