China slams USA after bombers fly over disputed South China Sea

Kristopher Drake
July 8, 2017

Asserting the right to treat the disputed waterway as worldwide waters rather than Chinese territorial waters, two supersonic B-1B Lancers dispatched from Guam conducted a flyover mission in the South China Sea, the Air Force revealed Friday, according to Reuters.

China issued a warning after two U.S. B-1B bombers took part in a joint drill with Japan in the East China Sea, then flew over the South China Sea. "Flying and training at night with our allies in a safe, effective manner is an important capability shared between the USA and Japan", said Major Ryan Simpson, Pacific Air Forces chief of bomber operations.

China and Japan have a dispute over the uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. "But we strongly oppose some countries showing off military power in the name of freedom of navigation, which damages China's sovereignty and safety".

"China does not have problems with freedom of navigation or flights over the East China Sea and the South China Sea, and respects and supports those freedoms in accordance with worldwide law", Geng said.

The United States has criticised China's build-up of military facilities in the South China Sea, concerned that they could be used to extend Beijing's strategic reach.

Xi said that ties with the USA have been strained by "some negative factors" in a telephone conversation with Trump on Sunday following a flurry of controversial moves from the US.

The flight from Guam on Thursday came as US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping prepare for a likely meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany.

Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims.

According to the White House statement, Trump raised the growing threat of North Korea's nuclear and ballistic arsenals with the Chinese president in their phone call on Sunday.

The operation comes two months after North Korea launched a ballistic missile toward Japan.

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