US plane strays into South China Sea airspace

An Air Force B-52 Stratofortress flies past the Navy aircraft carrier USS Nimitz escorted by two Navy F  A-18 Hornets. A B-52 recently flew over contested territory in the South China Sea

China is angry after they claim that a United States B-52 bomber jet flew within 12 miles of man-made islands in the South China Sea called the Spratlys without the country's permission.

Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright said: "The United States routinely conducts B-52 training missions throughout the region, including over the South China Sea".

China'sDefense Ministry said that two American B-52 bombers trespassed into airspace on December the 10th around the Spratlys and that Chinese forces kept them under close surveillance and warned them to leave.

With China keeps building artificial islands in the regions while claiming a region within 12-mile nautical miles as the territory of each island and the neighbors of China turning to the USA for help, the tension in the regions shows no sign of abating. "This behavior is a serious military provocation which complicates the general situation in the South China Sea, (contributing) to the militarization of the region", it said.

Freedom of navigation operations are missions conducted to challenge what the US believes are excessive territorial claims made by other countries.

If China's expansion in the South China Sea remains unguarded or if the US takes forceful measures, then US-China relations may become combustible, hence leading to a US-China conflict that may not bode well for the South East Asian region.

When China complained, a Defense Department official told CNN: "We will fly, sail and operate anywhere in the world that global law allows".

It demanded Washington immediately take measures to prevent such incidents and damage to relations. It says the new facilities are for civilian purposes such as weather monitoring, as well as national defense. In late October the United States guided missile destroyer USS Lassen sailed close to Subi Reef with one such mission, provoking an angry rebuke from China.

Beijing's claims in the sea conflict with those of its regional neighbors Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Brunei.

Pitching for freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, India has favored peaceful resolution of the dispute and has economic interests in the hydro-carbon rich sea. In recent years, the Chinese have rapidly constructed artificial islands to bolster their claim on all of the area.

The Chinese government filed a formal diplomatic complaint with the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.



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