The guided missile destroyers Spruance, Momsen and Decatur from the US Third Fleet’s Pacific Action Surface Group (PAC SAG) took part in he Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) in the South China Sea, according to the US navy.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The guided missile destroyers Spruance, Momsen and Decatur from the US Third Fleet’s Pacific Action Surface Group (PAC SAG) participated on Monday in the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) in the South China Sea to ensure stability and strengthen coordination with partner nations, the US Navy said in a press release.
"[T]his SAG is proving to be a valuable asset for stability and relations with our partner nations," Destroyer Squadron 31 Commander Capt. Charles Johnson stated. "Through these exercises and security operations we have already begun to enhance our relationships and strategic coordination with our Pacific partners."
The OMSI is a Department of Defense program designed to mesh the US Coast Guard’s operations in Oceania with those of the US Navy as well as regional maritime allies.
The latest OMSI exercises took place amidst disputes over territorial and maritime claims China has made in the South China Sea.
Tensions have increased in anticipation of a ruling by an arbitrations panel created under the jurisdiction of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to resolve competing claims by the Philippines and China.
The United States has challenged China’s claims by conducting freedom of navigation exercises and military flights in the South China Sea, and by merging ships of its Third and Seventh fleets in the region.
However, the United States has not signed the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, but China has.