10:34 GMT26 February 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) criticized Chinese military activities in the South China Sea and in the East China Sea, but stressed that Beijing forces have posed no threat to US military assets deployed to the region.

    "The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group closely monitored all People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and Air Force (PLAAF) activity, and at no time did they pose a threat to US Navy ships, aircraft, or Sailors," INDOPACOM spokesperson, US Navy Capt. Mike Kafka, said in a statement on late Friday.

    He also described the intensified Chinese activities in the region as the latest example of aggressive and destabilizing actions.

    "These actions reflect a continued PLA attempt to use its military as a tool to intimidate or coerce those operating in international waters and airspace, to include their neighbors and those with competing territorial claims," Kafka said.

    The INDOPACOM spokesperson pointed out that the United States would continue to fly, sail and operate in any area where it is allowed by international law.

    “The US has a persistent military presence and routinely operates throughout the Indo-Pacific, including the waters and airspace surrounding the South China Sea and East China Sea, just as we have approached the region for the past 240 years. Our operations are a continued demonstration of our willingness to support a free and open Indo-Pacific for all nations under international law," he added.

    Beijing claims the South China Sea is its sovereign territory and has built military bases on artificially created islands over sensitive maritime habitats. The country has also claims disputed territories in the East China Sea. The United States views the South China Sea as an international waterway and sends warships to routinely patrol the waterways in so-called Freedom of Navigation exercises.

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    military, Pacific, China, US
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