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White House Orders US Carrier Strike Group To Stay Near Taiwan, Says China ‘Overreacting’

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The United States says it’s watching ongoing Chinese military drills around Taiwan very closely, while condemning the latest series of ballistic missiles fired over the island as a severe provocation and escalation.

The White House has ordered the Ronald Reagan carrier strike group to stay in the area.

US National Security Council (NSC) spokesman John Kirby said in statements to MSNBC Thursday: “We’ve been watching this very, very closely. It’s concerning. It’s not just concerning to us, but it’s concerning, of course, to the people of Taiwan. It’s concerning to to our allies in the region, especially Japan.”

The provocateur here is Beijing. They didn’t have to react this way to what is completely normal travel by congressional members to Taiwan…The Chinese are the ones who are escalating this,” Kirby added.

He warned further, “One of the things that’s troublesome about exercises like this or missile launches like this is the risk of calculation, the risk of a mistake that could actually lead to some sort of conflict,” he said.

Kirby in a press briefing at the White House also said it’s Beijing that “chose to overreact” to Nancy Pelosi’s visit:

“We condemn these actions, which are irresponsible and at odds with our long-standing goal of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the region,” Kirby told reporters at the White House. “China has chosen to overreact and use the speaker’s visit as a pretext to increase provocative military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait.”

Both Taiwan officials, but more importantly Chinese officials and state media have acknowledged that effectively a blockade of the self-ruled island is in progress.

And somewhat alarming for the prospect of ‘inadvertent’ aggression between the PLA and US navies, Kirmy affirmed that the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group plans to continue ‘freedom of navigation’ maneuvers through the Taiwan Strait.

According to more details on the US strike group,

On Thursday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and its strike group “to remain in the general area to monitor the situation,” Kirby said.

“They’ll be there for a little bit longer than they were originally planned,” said Kirby. “I won’t get ahead of the ship’s schedule but the president believed it was a prudent thing to do, to leave her and her escort ships there just a little bit longer.”

The U.S. will also conduct “standard air and maritime transits through the Taiwan Strait in the next few weeks, consistent with our long-standing approach to defending the freedom of the seas and international law,” he added.

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