It looks like things are ramping up in the South China Sea. Here’s an article.
US holds drills in South China Sea amid tensions with China
February 12, 2023
BEIJING (AP) — The United States Navy and Marine Corps are holding joint exercises in the South China Sea at a time of heightened tensions with Beijing over the shooting down of a suspected Chinese spy balloon.
The 7th Fleet based in Japan said Sunday that the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier strike group and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit have been conducting “integrated expeditionary strike force operations” in the South China Sea.
It said exercises involving ships, ground forces and aircraft took place Saturday but gave no details on when they began or whether they had ended.
China claims virtually the entire South China Sea and strongly objects to military activity by other nations in the contested waterway through which $5 trillion in goods are shipped every year.
The U.S. takes no official position on sovereignty in the South China Sea, but maintains that freedom of navigation and overflight must be preserved. Several times a year, it sends ships sailing past fortified Chinese outposts in the Spratly Islands, prompting protests from Beijing.