US official misspeaks about sending B1 bombers

US to send B1 bomber aircraft and other surveillance to Australia according to misinformation from US official

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A US official misspoke about US to send B1 bomber aircraft and other surveillance to Australia, a spokesman for Australia's defence minister said on Friday.  

US Defence Department Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, David Shear talked about the plan in a Congressional testimony.

"We will be placing additional Air Force assets in Australia as well, including B-1 bombers and surveillance aircraft," Shear said.

Sending assets is a part of the Obama administration's campaign to "assert freedom of navigation" in the South China Sea.

Australian Defence Ministry denied the US claims and said US official misspoke.

"We are aware of the comments made by a US official in Congressional testimony overnight. The US government has contacted us to advise that the official misspoke," an Australian defence spokesman said.

The Wall street Journal reported late on Tuesday that the Pentagon was planning to send surveillance aircraft and ships within 12 nautical miles of coral reefs in the disputed Spratly Islands but adding that final decision had not been made.

Beijing claims it is under Chinese sovereignty but the US doesn't recognise it as a part of Chinese territory.

"Do you think we would support that move? We are severely concerned about relevant remarks made by the American side. We believe the American side needs to make clarification on that," said ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying in a response to the Wall Street Journal report on Wednesday.

Six states comprising China, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and the Philippines  maintain a territorial claim in the South China Sea.

TRTWorld and agencies