The United States and France flex their muscles in the South China Sea, drawing the ire of Beijing

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Two groups of US carriers are conducting exercises in disputed waters by China, drawing the ire of Beijing just as France announced that one of its attack submarines had passed through the area. Carriers Theodore Roosevelt and Nimitz “conducted a multitude of exercises aimed at increasing interoperability between assets, as well as command and control capabilities,” the United States Navy said. This came days after the USS John S. McCain was dispatched to “enforce the rights and freedoms of navigation in the vicinity of the Paracel Islands”, an archipelago disputed by Vietnam, Taiwan and China. A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry denounced the current military exercises as “a show of force.” French Defense Minister Florence Parly said Monday night that a French attack submarine and its support ship had just sailed through the South China Sea to reaffirm, along with Australia, Japan and the United States, that “the international law is the only rule that matters. ” International powers have challenged China’s ambitions in most of the resource-rich area, after Beijing built military posts on reefs and sandbars turned into artificial islands to claim sovereignty in the 12-mile stretch of territorial waters. Read: Biden draws a hard line on China and Iran