The size of the Chinese Navy force is unusually large and is meant to show off China's naval power in contested waters.
Another U.S. carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, patrolled the contested waters last month, taking part in anti-submarine drills in the South China Sea with Japanese forces and visiting Vietnam with its 5,000-strong crew, the largest such U.S. military presence there since the Vietnam War ended in 1975.
Beijing claims "indisputable" ownership over all South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters, an allegation that impacts the territorial integrity of the other sovereign states in the region, namely Taiwan, Brunei, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
Beijing-based military analyst Zhou Chenming told the South China Morning Post: "China wants to show the outside world its determination to defend the fruits of its economic reforms over the past 40 years". However, Chinese outposts in the South China Sea are strategically placed near shipping lanes, USA officials have noted.More news: Instagram 'Focus' brings support for Portrait shots: Here's how it will work
"What the U.S. is doing will damage the military-to-military relations and atmosphere".
"While China has maintained that the construction of the islands is to ensure safety at sea, navigation assistance, search and rescue, fisheries protection and other nonmilitary functions, electronic jamming equipment is only for military use", a U.S. Defense Department official told the Wall Street Journal.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Halsey (DDG 97) and USS Preble (DDG 88) sail behind the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) as escorts in the South China Sea, March 24, 2018.
Even with China continually on edge, the USA has reaffirmed that it will continue to not only keep a noticeable presence, but also conduct necessary drills as needed.More news: IShares Edge MSCI Multifactor USA (LRGF) Declines 0.32% for April 11
China is creating new vessels in a fast speed to equip its navy, coast guard and marine regulation police agencies, including its first entirely domestically-built aircraft provider.
"They (China) certainly have the right to exercise off their coast like we do, nor are they necessarily in charge of our transit cycle, but our deployment's been planned", Koehler said. At any given moment, the flight deck is home to dozens of aircraft and helicopters.
"Since Americans are our friends in one way or another, they can help us deter any threat".More news: Golden Knights fans cheer on team from City National Arena watch party