Pelosi Taiwan visit: region ‘tense’ as Chinese navy watches US warships, holds drills in South China Sea

As tensions mount over US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s potential trip to Taiwan, the Chinese navy has been monitoring the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier’s activities in the South China Sea.

The nuclear-powered warship was cruising about 185km (115 miles) from the contested Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratlys chain on Thursday, according to publicly available satellite images.

Two other vessels – identified by Vietnam-based maritime observer Duan Dang as a Chinese Type 052D destroyer and a Type 054A frigate – were seen 27km and 23km away.

The Reagan and its carrier strike group left Singapore on Monday and headed for the South China Sea, as Pelosi’s trip – which she has not confirmed – causes a ruckus, with Beijing warning that the United States will face “forceful measures” if it goes ahead.

Pelosi, despite being an American lawmaker and not an official of the executive branch which spearheads foreign policy, has been repeatedly described by Beijing as the “No 3 of the US government”.

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