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International relations

US aircraft carrier drops anchor in Manila to send China message

Warship sailed through the tension-soaked South China Sea before port call

Rear Admiral Karl Thomas, Commander of Task Force 70, speaks to reporters on board the USS Ronald Reagan on Wednesday. (Photo by Cliff Venzon)

MANILA -- The USS Ronald Reagan, a hulking American aircraft carrier, made a port call in Manila Bay this week with a message for Beijing: the South China Sea must be free and open.

With a motto of "peace through strength," the Nimitz class vessel with around 70 fighter jets and a crew of about 5,000 is among the largest in the U.S. Navy fleet. Its carrier strike group includes the Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville.

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