TAIPEI — A U.S. plane carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt has entered the South China Sea to boost “freedom of the seas,” the U.S. military services claimed on Sunday, at a time when tensions between China and Taiwan have elevated concern in Washington.

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command reported in a statement the strike group entered the South China Sea on Saturday, the exact working day Taiwan reported a huge incursion of Chinese bombers and fighter jets into its air defence identification zone in the vicinity of the Pratas Islands.

8 Chinese bomber planes and four fighter jets entered the zone, and Taiwan’s air drive deployed missiles to “monitor” the incursion, the island’s defense ministry said, prompting the U.S. Point out Section to urge China to quit pressuring Taiwan.

The U.S. armed forces claimed the provider strike group was in the South China Sea, a huge aspect of which is claimed by China, to perform regimen operations “to make certain independence of the seas, make partnerships that foster maritime stability.”

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“After sailing through these waters in the course of my 30-yr occupation, it’s good to be in the South China Sea yet again, conducting regime functions, marketing flexibility of the seas, and reassuring allies and companions,” Rear Adm. Doug Verissimo, commander of the strike team, was quoted as declaring.

“With two-thirds of the world’s trade travelling through this incredibly important area, it is important that we maintain our presence and carry on to boost the principles-centered order which has permitted us all to prosper,” Verissimo explained in the assertion.

The announcement will come just days following Joe Biden was sworn in as U.S. president.

Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told his Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday there was “no doubt” China posed the most significant challenge to the United States of any nation.

China has consistently complained about U.S. Navy ships getting near to Chinese-occupied islands in the South China Sea, in which Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan all have competing statements.

The Theodore Roosevelt is being accompanied by the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill, and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Russell and USS John Finn, the U.S. assertion said.

In a bold movement on Friday, China licensed its coastline guard to fire on international vessels and ruin constructions on options it promises, possibly boosting the possibility of clashes with regional maritime rivals.

The Coast Guard Legislation empowers the pressure to “get all essential steps, together with the use of weapons, when countrywide sovereignty, sovereign legal rights and jurisdiction are becoming illegally infringed on by international businesses or persons at sea.”

The regulation also authorizes the coast guard to demolish other countries’ constructions designed on reefs and islands claimed by China and to seize or get foreign vessels illegally coming into China’s territorial waters to depart.