The United States deployed aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to patrol the increasingly contentious South China Sea, despite Beijing’s warnings not to challenge its sovereignty in the resource-rich sea. The Navy described Saturday’s launch as the beginning of “routine operations” in the South China Sea. China claims most of the sea as its own, despite overlapping territorial and jurisdictional claims from the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei. Last week at a news conference,

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, denounced advance news of the deployment. “China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters,” he said. “China respects and upholds the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea which countries enjoy under international law, but firmly opposes any country’s attempt to undermine China’s sovereignty and security in the name of the freedom of navigation and overflight.”  READ MORE