China accuses U.S. of provocation by flying bombers over man-made island

BEIJING -- China's Defence Ministry said Saturday that the U.S. committed "a serious military provocation" by recently flying two Air Force B-52 bombers over a Chinese-controlled man-made island in the South China Sea, a mission that the U.S.

See Full Article

appeared to indicate had strayed off course.

The Defence Ministry accused the U.S. of deliberately raising tensions in the disputed region, where China has been aggressively asserting its claims to virtually all islands, reefs and their surrounding seas. It also reiterated that it would do whatever is necessary to protect China's sovereignty.

As is China's usual practice, the Foreign Ministry took a more diplomatic tone, saying the situation was stable.

The U.S. takes no official stance on sovereignty claims in the strategically crucial South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in international trade passes each year. However, Washington insists on freedom of navigation and maintains that China's seven newly created islands do not enjoy traditional rights, including a 12-nautical-mile (22-kilometre) territorial limit.

Responding to China's protests, Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright said that the Dec. 10 mission was not a "freedom of navigation" operation and that there was "no intention of flying within 12 nautical miles of any feature," indicating the mission may have strayed off course.

The U.S. uses pre-planned freedom of navigation operations to assert its rights to "innocent passage" in other country's territorial waters.

"The United States routinely conducts B-52 training missions throughout the region, including over the South China Sea," Wright said in an email to The Associated Press. "These missions are designed to maintain readiness and demonstrate our commitment to fly, sail and operate anywhere allowed under international law."

Wright said the U.S. was "looking into the matter."

China's Defence Ministry demanded that Washington immediately take measures to prevent such incidents and damage to relations between the two nations' militaries.

"The actions by the U.S. side constitute a serious military provocation and are rendering more complex and even militarizing conditions in the South China Sea," the ministry said in a statement.

The statement said that Chinese military personnel on the island went on high alert during the overflights by the B-52 strategic bombers and that they issued warnings demanding the aircraft leave the area.

While the Foreign and Defence ministries said two B-52s were involved in the incident, there was no word from the U.S. on the number of planes involved.

"In the face of provocative acts from the U.S. side, the Chinese military will take all necessary means and measures to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and security and resolutely safeguard regional peace and stability," the Defence Ministry's statement said.

Speaking to reporters on a visit to Berlin, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi drew a contrast between the situation in the South China Sea region and the chaos and turmoil in other parts of the world. "The situation in the South China Sea is essentially stable overall," he said.

Wang also said that while China understands the concerns of nations from outside the region -- a clear reference to the U.S. -- they should "do more to benefit peace and stability and support efforts to find a resolution through talks, and not manufacture tensions or even fan the flames."

"We don't think this is a constructive approach and will not receive the support and welcome of relevant nations," Wang said.

In Beijing, the Foreign Ministry said it had "lodged solemn representation with the United States" over the incident.

China's latest protest comes amid a simmering dispute over Washington's approval this past week of the first arms package in four years offered to Taiwan, Beijing's self-governing rival. Beijing, which regards Taiwan as part of its territory, demanded the deal be scrapped to avoid harming relations across the Taiwan Strait and between China and the U.S.

Beijing filed a formal diplomatic complaint and its Foreign Ministry said it would take "necessary measures, including the imposition of sanctions against companies participating in the arms sale to Taiwan."

The main contractor behind the weaponry is Raytheon. U.S. defence firms are forbidden to sell arms to China.

Associated Press writers Frank Jordans in Berlin and Lolita Baldor in Bahrain contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Israel approves 2,500 new West Bank settlement homes

    World News CBC News
    Israel's Defence Ministry announced plans on Tuesday to build 2,500 more settlement homes in the West Bank, the second announcement of new construction in the occupied territory since President Donald Trump took office. A statement from the Defence Ministry said the plans, authorized by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, were intended to fulfil a demand for new housing "to maintain regular daily life. Source
  • Emoluments, executive orders: A Trump glossary

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- It's the first full work week for the Trump administration, and the talk is all about emoluments, executive orders, a border tax, TPP and much more. If you're rusty on some of those terms, grab this glossary to help get up to speed on what's afoot. Source
  • 'Choosing Trudeau over Trump': Trade committee clears way for final CETA vote in Brussels

    World News CBC News
    A planned EU-Canada free-trade deal moved closer to reality on Tuesday after a key committee advised the European Parliament to give its backing after months of protests and heated debate. The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is seen as a test of Europe's ability to forge future trade accords and as a counterweight to anticipated protectionism under new U.S. Source
  • Workers dismayed by President Trump's federal hiring freeze

    World News CTV News
    MCLEAN, Va. -- Federal worker Greg Guthrie had held out hope after Donald Trump's election to president that his professed advocacy for the American worker would extend to the federal workforce, too. That hope diminished after Trump on Monday issued an executive order implementing a hiring freeze across the federal government, with exceptions only for military, national security or public safety personnel. Source
  • 'I was walking by dead bodies'; Storms kill 20 in the southern U.S. [Photos] [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    ADEL, Ga. — Bonnie and Wayne Collier were jolted awake in their mobile home by a cellphone weather alert early Sunday. They jumped up, turned on the TV, saw a tornado warning and decided to run. “We heard the Code Red,” said Bonnie Collier, 65. Source
  • What's next for Hillary Clinton?

    World News CTV News
    In the wake of a surprising loss to President Donald Trump in the U.S. election in November, political pundits, members of the media and Democratic supporters are speculating about what comes next for Hillary Clinton. Source
  • 'I was appalled': Outrage after boy, 10, exposed to porn on school computer

    Canada News CTV News
    A Toronto-area mother says she wants answers from her 10-year-old son’s school board after the boy was exposed to what she describes as sexually explicit video while he played on a school-issued computer. The boy’s mother, who did not to be identified, says her son, a grade 5 student at Palermo Public School in Oakville, Ont. Source
  • Outrage after boy, 10, reports seeing porn on school computer

    Canada News CTV News
    A Toronto-area mother says her son was exposed to what she describes as sexually explicit video while he played on a school-issued computer. The boy’s mother, who did not want to be identified, says her son, a grade 5 student at Palermo Public School in Oakville, Ont. Source
  • Police investigating group rape reportedly livestreamed on Facebook

    World News Toronto Sun
    COPENHAGEN — Police in Sweden say three men have been arrested on suspicion of being part a group rape that was streamed live on a closed Facebook group. Police spokeswoman Lisa Sannervik says the investigation into “a serious sexual offence” was in “a preliminary phase” and she could not provide further details. Source
  • Rescue dog saves blind man, uncle from house fire

    Canada News CTV News
    A blind man and his uncle escaped a burning home unscathed thanks to the heroics of their faithful dog, who woke them in the middle of the night. Lawrence Perry, who is blind, says he woke up to his German shepherd, Coda, and a frightening sound early Monday, in the ground-level unit of a home he rents with his uncle in Vancouver. Source