US Military airplanes fly close to Chinese islands

US B-52 bombers have flown close to man-made Chinese islands, communicated with Beijing aerial domain but kept flying

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A B-52 strategic bomber

The Pentagon said on Thursday that two US 52 bombers have flown close to the artificial Chinese islands in South China. Despite being warned by Chinese air controllers, they continued to carry out their task.

The infringement has occurred before Barack Obama’s visit to China next week and he is to attend Asia-Pacific summits. At the summit, he is supposed to claim to have freedom of flying over the area.  

China is ready to preserve its territorial claims of their artificial islands but the US has stated that it will maintain to manage patrols to ensure unhampered passing. Parts of the islands are also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The US bomber flights were carried out after Defense Secretary Ashton Carter visited the region last week.

After leaving the region, Carter talked honestly about the purpose of the US to allow more freedom in relation to navigation operations, without getting into the specifics.

"We will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows,” Carter said at the Reagan National Defense Forum. ''It's important to remember that America's rebalance and this regional security architecture has never aimed to hold any nation back or push any country down,'' he added. 

"The United States wants every nation to have an opportunity to rise, because it's good for the region and good for all our countries. And that includes China. We welcome its rise, and its inclusion in this architecture; but it must uphold China's President Xi Jinping's pledge not to 'pursue militarization' in the South China Sea," he added.

Last month, US Navy began patrolling close to the China built island in South China but China responded negatively.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that he has no idea whether South China Sea would be the subject of any Asia summits but he added that it would be "on the minds and lips" of world leaders who will join the summits.

"We are quite concerned about protecting freedom of navigation, the free flow of commerce in the South China Sea, and we're going to continue to encourage all parties, big and small, to resolve their differences diplomatically and to not try to use their comparative size and strength to intimidate their neighbors." Earnest told reporters.


TRTWorld and agencies