“What is the intention of the United States here? Said Ian Storey, a South China Sea expert at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, a think tank in Singapore. “Is it fair to say,” We are here? “Or are they going to shade the Chinese ship to try to keep it from operating? “
The Indo-Pacific Command did not specify the exact location of the two American warships, citing operational restrictions, but confirmed that the warships were in the South China Sea.
Tuesday, the US Navy posted photos of warships on Twitter, accompanied by a third ship, a destroyer by the name of Barry, said the expeditionary strike group was operating “for security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region”.
The area where US warships sail is about 200 nautical miles off the coast of Malaysia, defense experts have said. Malaysia, China and Vietnam are all claiming rights to the natural resources of this part of the disputed waterway.
Last week, a Chinese government investigative vessel began observing the West Capella, a drilling vessel exploring for offshore Malaysia and operated by Malaysian state oil company Petronas.
The Chinese investigation vessel, called Haiyang Dizhi 8, had previously followed similar oil operations off the coast of Vietnam.