U.S. says bombers didn't intend to fly over China-held islands

BEIJING -- The United States said its two B-52 bombers had no intention of flying over a Chinese-controlled man-made island in the South China Sea, after Beijing accused Washington of "a serious military provocation" in the strategic waters with overlapping claims.

See Full Article

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

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."

The U.S. takes no official stance on sovereignty claims in the 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.

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.

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

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.

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

  • Father arrested as police search for missing boy in California

    World News CTV News
    SOUTH PASADENA, Calif. -- Police in Southern California on Sunday finished their search of a park where the passed-out father of a missing 5-year-old boy was found over the weekend and are asking for anyone with information to come forward. Source
  • 3 children among victims in New York City house fire

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — A fast-moving fire killed five people, including three children, as flames surged through a New York City home on a sunny spring afternoon, leaving authorities to scour for clues about what sparked the deadly blaze. Source
  • Capitals end Leafs' playoff run in Game 6

    Canada News CBC News
    A historic Toronto Maple Leafs season has come to an end. Marcus Johansson stuffed his second goal of the game past Frederik Andersen six and a half minutes into overtime as the Washington Capitals edged the Leafs 2-1 in Game 6 on Sunday night — winning the series 4-2 with five of the six games decided in extra time. Source
  • Mudslinging continues as B.C. election nears halfway mark

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER - Leaders of British Columbia's main political parties are continuing to take shots at each other's election promises and past performances as the campaign nears the halfway mark. NDP Leader John Horgan hosted a campaign rally in Vancouver on Sunday, where he told the crowd that Liberal Leader Christy Clark is working for her donors, not for the average British Columbian. Source
  • Calgary mother hopes photo of dying son will deter others from doing fentanyl

    Canada News CBC News
    A Calgary mother is hoping a photo of her laying on a hospital bed with her dying son will help steer others away from using the deadly drug, fentanyl. "My son was not an addict, he made a mistake that cost him his life," Sherri Kent wrote on the Facebook post, which has been shared more than 86,000 times. Source
  • South Korea, allies brace for North Korea follow-up act

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of -- Fresh off an immense North Korean parade that revealed an arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles, rival South Korea and its allies are bracing for the possibility that Pyongyang's follow-up act will be even bigger. Source
  • Winnipeg native Canada’s oldest person about to hit 112

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Outside of genetics and just plain old good luck, what would be the secret to a long life? If you follow the example of some-to-be 112-year-old Ellen (Dolly) Gibb, it would seem that eating well in moderation with lots of full-fat cream and butter and the occasional beer would do the trick. Source
  • 'This is where I want to be': Canadian woman on fighting ISIS in Syria

    World News CTV News
    A B.C. fashion model-turned-freedom fighter is speaking out about her decision to rejoin the fight against ISIS in Syria. Hanna Bohman, 48, has travelled to Syria twice. She returned to Vancouver in June, 2016 after rejoining other foreigners in a faction of Kurdish fighters. Source
  • N.L. fisherman's hunger strike ends in hospitalization

    Canada News CTV News
    A Newfoundland fisherman’s hunger strike ended Sunday with an ambulance taking him to hospital, though his supporters say their fight is far from finished. “I almost lost my son there today,” Richard Gillett’s father, John Gillett, told reporters on Sunday. Source
  • N.L. fisherman's hunger strike ends in hospital

    Canada News CTV News
    A Newfoundland fisherman’s hunger strike ended Sunday with an ambulance taking him to hospital, though his supporters say their fight is far from finished. “I almost lost my son there today,” Richard Gillett’s father, John Gillett, told reporters on Sunday. Source