BEIJING – Two US B-52 bombers flew close to islands in the flashpoint South China Sea last week in a “serious military provocation”, Beijing said on Saturday.
China insists it has sovereignty over virtually all of the resource-rich sea, conflicting with the various claims of several neighbouring nations, and US activity in the area has provoked Beijing’s ire several times in recent months.
“In the morning of December 10, two US B-52 bombers entered airspace over the Chinese Nansha islands and nearby areas without authorisation,” China’s defence ministry said, using the Chinese name for the Spratly Islands.
“This behaviour is a serious military provocation which complicates the general situation in the South China Sea, (contributing) to the militarisation of the region,” the ministry said in a statement on its website.
During a mission by the two B-52 bombers last week, one of the aircraft unintentionally flew within two nautical miles of an artificially constructed island. This may have been because of bad weather conditions, the Wall Street Journal quoted Pentagon officials as saying on Friday.
“The US has continuously sent military ships and planes to make a show of force and create tensions in the waters and airspace of the South China Sea. The Chinese army will take all necessary measures to defend the sovereignty and the security of the country,” the defence ministry said.
NEO Web Desk