USS Ronald Reagan returns to South China Sea amid tensions over Pelosi . visit

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The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its attack group have re-entered the South China Sea and are heading north as China threatens military action if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan.

The carrier left Singapore on July 26 after a five-day call to the port, according to a US statemente Fleet.

The statement did not specify the current location of the USS Ronald Reagan, but the US Navy released a few photos on Wednesday of the carrier refueling at sea with supply oiler USNS Tippecanoe in the South China Sea.

Data from the ship-tracking website, Marine Traffic, shows that the USNS Tippecanoe was well in the South China Sea at the time of the replenishment operation.

The projection of the ship shows that it is moving north.

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While this doesn’t necessarily mean the aircraft carrier would take the same route, some Taiwanese viewers say it could sail near the island in the coming days.

An analyst who wishes to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the issue told RFA they believe the Ronald Reagan will “sail close to the east side of Taiwan in a show of power, but not confront the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.”

The Chinese state-backed Global Times, meanwhile, quoted Song Shingling, a Chinese military expert, as saying that “if the US carrier assault group attacks relevant islands in the South China Sea or collides with Chinese warships and fighter jets, it could be tantamount to ​creating a conflict.”

USNS Tippecanoe’s previous track from July 21 to July 28. CREDIT: Marine Traffic

Pelosi informed about trip to Taiwan

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The Indo-Pacific Command declined to confirm whether the Ronald Reagan, the US Navy’s only forward-mounted aircraft carrier, will sail near Taiwan.

“We have nothing further on this,” said Cmdr. Tiffani Walker, spokeswoman for the US Indo-Pacific Command.

The democratic island, which China considers one of its provinces, has come under the spotlight after press reports that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was due to visit Taiwan in early August.

Neither the US government nor Pelosi’s office confirmed the news, but President Joe Biden said the military “didn’t think it was a good idea at this point” for Pelosi to visit Taiwan.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Wednesday that he had spoken to Pelosi and provided her with a security assessment of the situation, but did not comment on Taiwan, Reuters reported.

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President Biden is expected to discuss the visit in a phone call on Thursday with, among others, his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. It would be the fifth meeting since Biden took office in January 2021.

China has already reacted strongly to the rumor journey, with a PLA spokesman threatening that if Pelosi insisted on making the visit, “the Chinese military will never stand idly by and will certainly take strong and decisive measures” to retaliate.

The USS Ronald Reagan is a nuclear-powered Nimitz-class supercarrier, based in Yokosuka, Japan. It has been deployed in the US 7th Fleet’s area of ​​operations “in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” the US Navy said.