Days after its much-heralded arrival in the region, the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group has passed out of the South China Sea, officials announced on Monday.
The strike group, which includes the USS Stennis, Arleigh-Burke class guided missile destroyers USS Chung-Hoon, USS Stockdale, and USS William P. Lawrence, and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay, arrived in the South China Sea on March 1.
Its appearance in the region came amid rising tensions over China’s decision to deploy HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles to the disputed Woody Island in the Paracel Island chain, a move that numerous U.S. officials have described as militarization of the region against international policy.
Navy officials, however, have maintained that the ships were in the area only for standard operations and that their presence was neither intended as a show of force nor as a formal confrontation of Chinese naval forces. Read more