House Speaker Nancy Pelosi started her Asian tour yesterday and China’s been on edge since. Pelosi’s itinerary includes Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and possibly Taiwan, but there’s no confirmation on Taiwan yet.
Because of this, China had reportedly been laying the groundwork to carry out “military provocations” in case Pelosi continues her visit to Taiwan. China promises to take “resolute and strong measures” if Pelosi moves forward with her visit.
As China prepares its military for a potential confrontation, US Navy is also on the move and has moved the USS Ronald Reagan and USS Tripoli closer to Taiwan.
The Carrier Strike Group built around the USS Ronald Reagan had been operating in the South China Sea and has moved to a new station in the Philippines Sea off the East coast of Luzon in the Philippines which is south of Taiwan, while the Tripoli is the waters South of Okinawa and can be covered by aircraft stationed at US bases on the island as well as by her own air complement. At Sasebo in Japan, the amphibious assault ship USS America is believed to be in port but can be put to sea quickly if need be. While both the Tripoli and the America are amphibious assault vessels, both are capable of launching and supporting between 16-20 F-35B Lightening II, multi-role fighter. These aircraft are flown by Marine Corps pilots. The F-35B gives the navy the ability to convert its amphibious assault ships into strike carriers as need be. The position of the USS Tripoli would also allow F-35Bs from Okinaw of Japan to land on her deck and refuel and rearm on the way to or from a target at sea.