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U.S. aircraft carrier strike group patrols in South China Sea

A U.S. aircraft carrier strike group has begun patrols in the South China Sea, the U.S. navy said on Saturday, amid renewed tension over the disputed waterway.

Routine operations come amid renewed tension over disputed waterway

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, shown in 2014, is on routine operations in the South China Sea, the navy said in early April. (Glenn Fawcett/Department of Defence/Reuters)

A U.S. aircraft carrier strike group has begun patrols in the South China Sea, the U.S. navy said on Saturday, amid renewed tension over the disputed waterway.

China's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday warned Washington against challenging its sovereignty, responding to reports the U.S. was planning fresh naval patrols in the South China Sea.

The navy said the force, including Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, began routine operations in the South China Sea on Saturday. The announcement was posted on the Vinson's Facebook page.

China lays claim to almost all of the South China Sea, including several of its contested shoals, islands and reefs, and recently conducted war games in the region. The country has been constructing artificial islands with airstrips in the sea for a number of years.

The sea is rich in potential oil and gas reserves, and about $5 trillion US worth of trade passes through every year. 

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