China has expressed its disapproval of the presence of US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in Southeast Asia, describing the US as a “troublemaker” in the region.
A report from Chinese Communist Party’s flagship newspaper Global Times said that the USS Ronald Reagan is sending the “wrong signal” to the Philippines, emboldening the country to “infringe” upon China’s sovereignty.
On October 23, 2023, the Philippine government lodged a diplomatic protest with China in response to maneuvers by Chinese vessels on October 22, 2023 that led to collisions with Philippine ships on a resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre on Ayungin Shoal (international name: Second Thomas Shoal).
Both the Philippine Department of National Defense and the Chinese Embassy in Manila issued conflicting statements on social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), with their own versions of what transpired.
According to the Global Times, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the Philippines and China have managed the Second Thomas Shoal situation quite well until the arrival of USS Ronald Reagan in the region in early 2023.
“The US has been blatantly emboldening the Philippines’ acts of infringing upon China’s sovereignty and inciting and supporting the Philippines attempts to repair and reinforce its warship that was deliberately ‘grounded’ on Ren’ai Jiao (Second Thomas Shoal)”, the spokesperson said.
Philippine media outlet ABS CBN reported that the United States said it “stands with our Philippine allies”, saying China violated international law by intentionally interfering with the Philippine vessels’ exercise of high seas freedom of navigation.
The USS Ronald Reagan is a Nimitz-class, nuclear-powered supercarrier in the service of the United States Navy. Its home port is in Yokosuka, Japan.