US Navy destroyer patrols South China Sea
USS Spruance, a U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, is currently patrolling the South China Sea as part of a Pacific Surface Action Group (PAC SAG) deployment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific.
“Spruance is currently operating in the South China Sea in support of maritime security and stability of all nations, especially in the Indo-Asian-Pacific,” said Cmdr. Manuel Hernandez, commanding officer of Spruance.
Spruance departed homeport in San Diego on April 19 and is joined in the Pacific by two sister ships USS Decatur (DDG 73) and USS Momsen (DDG 92), who are also part of the PAC SAG.
Spruance recently completed Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) in the Central and Western Pacific with the U.S. Coast Guard and regional partner nations.
“In the past two weeks, we have operated in the Eastern Pacific with the U.S. Coast Guard and Pacific Island partners. Now, we are conducting operations in the South China Sea,” Hernandez said.
The U.S. Navy says that the PAC SAG initiative is designed to leverage the technological and tactical assets of the three modern destroyers, allowing for a quick response to any situation in the region.
Additionally, two U.S. aircraft carriers have met up in the Philippine Sea “to practice interoperability”. However, it is believed that the U.S. Navy is ramping up presence in the region ahead of the international arbitration over the South China Sea dispute. Official Beijing has repeatedly said that it would not accept any decision made by The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague.