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Tuesday, June 21, 2016, 13:54

Two US carriers training in East Asia

By Reuters

Two US carriers training in East Asia
This US Navy photo obtained June 17, 2015 shows Nimitz-class aircraft carriers USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), and USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) as they are pierside at Naval Air Station North Island on June 12, 2015 in San Diego, Californ ia. (AFP PHOTO / US NAVY / DANIEL M. YOUNG)

WASHINGTON - The US Navy chief said on Monday he hoped the deployment of two aircraft carriers on a training mission in East Asia.

The US carriers John C. Stennis and Ronald Reagan began joint operations in seas east of the Philippines at the weekend.

Admiral John Richardson, the chief of US Naval Operations, told a Washington think tank it was not often the United States had two carrier strike groups in the same waters and it was a sign of US commitment to regional security.

He referred to a similar deployment of a second US carrier in the Mediterranean Sea last week, at a time when US officials are raising alarm over Russia's maritime expansion.

"Both here and in the Mediterranean, it's a signal to everyone in the region that we're committed, we're going to be there for our allies, to reassure them and for anyone who wants to destabilize that region," he told the Center for a New American Security.

The US Pacific Command said the Stennis and the Ronald Reagan started their dual operations on Saturday, including air defense drills, sea surveillance, defensive air combat training and long-range strikes.

A PACOM statement quoted Rear Admiral John D. Alexander, commander of the Ronald Reagan carrier group, as saying it was an opportunity to practice techniques needed "to prevail in modern naval operations."

PACOM said the United States last conducted a dual carrier operation in the Western Pacific in 2014. Two carriers operated in the South China Sea and East China Sea in 2012.

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