The USS Ronald Reagan passes through the San Bernardino Strait, July 30. The Reagan is one of three ships operating in waters near Taiwan amid increased warnings from China.
A US aircraft carrier and two ships carrying F-35s are operating in waters near Taiwan, according to USNI News.
The three ships are conducting normal operations but could linger as a contingency option, an official said.
The operations come amid renewed Chinese warnings over a possible Pelosi trip to Taiwan.
Three US Navy ships, an aircraft carrier and two amphibious assault ships carrying stealth fighters, are operating in waters near Taiwan as China doubles down on its warnings of a possible military response should House Speaker Nancy Pelosi go through with a visit to Taiwan.
The three ships are the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, the only forward-deployed carrier, and USS America and USS Tripoli, according to a new USNI News report.
The Reagan, which is based in Japan, is operating in the Philippine Sea following recent operations in the South China Sea. The America is in the East China Sea, and the Tripoli is positioned just south of Okinawa, the defense outlet reported, pointing to the USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker.
The Tripoli is carrying as many as 20 Marine Corps F-35Bs, reportedly as part of an evaluation of the Marine Corps’ “lightning carrier” concept looking at augmenting the US carrier force with amphibs outfitted with F-35s. The America, which has been a testing platform for the same concept, regularly sails with the short takeoff and vertical landing variant of the fifth-generation fighter. The Ronald Reagan’s air wing is made up of F/A-18s.
The US vessels are conducting normal operations in the area and are not deployed as force protection assets amid rising tensions between the US and China over a possible visit to Taiwan by Pelosi, a Pentagon spokesperson told USNI News.
That said, a senior defense official told the outlet that the ships and aircraft could remain in the area should they be needed for a contingency. The Associated Press reported last week that US military is making plans should an incident arise.
On Monday, China reiterated its warning of possible military action if Pelosi visits Taiwan as part of her tour of Asia.
“The Chinese side has expressed its serious concerns and solemn position to the US side many times recently that it firmly opposes House Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, stressing that her visit to Taiwan will lead to serious consequences,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Monday.
Zhao added that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will “never sit idly by,” doubling down on China’s warnings of potential military action. It is unclear what a Chinese response might be.
China sees Taiwan as part of Chinese territory and has said it would view Pelosi’s visit as a display of support for the self-ruled democratic island’s independence, which China says is unacceptable.
The House Speaker and an all-Democrat delegation arrived in Singapore today, and although Pelosi has not confirmed whether she will travel to Taiwan, CNN reported Monday that she is expected to arrive in Taipei as early as Tuesday evening.