Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group. Photo: US Navy via AFP

Japan’s Jiji Press is reporting that a US Navy strike group led by the super carrier USS Carl Vinson is engaged in a joint exercise with Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) in the South China Sea.

The drill in the South China Sea where China has been building artificial islands and military facilities, follows the Vinson’s visit to Da Nang, Vietnam earlier this month in what analysts say was a veiled warning to Beijing.

The Vinson strike group, which includes two Aegis guided-missile destroyers, has been conducting the exercise since Sunday with the Japanese helicopter carrier Ise to “enhance maritime interoperability between longstanding allies,” according to a US Navy statement

The US Navy also said its joint operations with the MSDF include antisubmarine and air defense training, noting that the Ise will also carry out a replenishment-at-sea operation with the Vinson.

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