Amid China's warning, Biden calls US warship in South China Sea
MANILA, Philippines — Days after China warned off a US warship in the South China Sea, US President Joe Biden called the crew aboard another aircraft carrier in the area.
Biden spoke to the leadership of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group on February 8 during the Super Bowl.
According to a report from the US Pacific Fleet, the new US commander-in-chief thanked the crew for their work during their deployment in the South China Sea.
"It was an honor to have the opportunity to talk with President Biden during the Super Bowl. The Sailors and Marines of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group continue to answer the nation's call as we conduct maritime security operations in the South China Sea," Rear Adm. Jim Kirk, commander of the strike group, said.
USS Nimitz (CVN-68), flagship of the strike group, entered the South China Sea last week. The supercarrier and its escorts have been deployed in the area since June last year.
Following this development, Beijing's military warned off USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) for sailing near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, which China claims as their territorial waters.
The Chinese People's Liberation Army said it "organized naval and air forces to track monitor and warn off" the US navy warship.
The Chinese military also accused Washington of "seriously violating China's sovereignty" and "harming regional peace."
Prior to this, USS John S. McCain also passed through the Paracel Island chain to "assert navigational rights and freedoms" in the island group, which is being claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam.
"Under international law as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention, the ships of all States–including their warships–enjoy the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea. The unilateral imposition of any authorization or advance-notification requirement for innocent passage is not permitted by international law," the US 7th Fleet said in a statement released February 5.