U.S. general: Air Force to keep flying over South China Sea

CANBERRA, Australia -- The U.S. Air Force will continue to fly daily missions over the South China Sea despite a buildup of Chinese surface-to-air missiles and fighter jets in the contested region, with both nations' militaries in discussions to avoid any "miscalculation," a top U.S.

See Full Article

general said Tuesday.

Gen. Lori Robinson, the commander of the Pacific Air Forces, also urged other nations to exercise their freedom to fly and sail in international airspace and waters claimed by China in the South China Sea "or risk losing it throughout the region."

"We've watched the increased military capability on those islands, whether it's the fighters, whether it's the missiles or the 10,000-foot runways. We will continue to do as we've always done, and that is fly and sail in international airspace in accordance to international rules and norms," Robinson told reporters in Australia's capital, Canberra, where she will address the Royal Australian Air Force's biennial Air Power Conference next week.

Robinson declined to say how the United States would retaliate if a U.S. plane was shot down by the Chinese.

Several governments have conflicting claims in the South China Sea, a major conduit for world trade. The U.S. lays no claims to the waters, but says it has an interest in ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight and non-use of force and coercion to assert claims.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi took a hard line Tuesday on the country's claims to virtually all of the South China Sea, saying Beijing won't permit other nations to infringe on what it considers its sovereign rights in the strategically vital area.

Speaking to reporters at an annual news conference in Beijing, Wang said that another nation's claim to freedom of navigation in the region doesn't give it the right to do whatever it wants -- an apparent reference to the U.S., which has sent naval ships past reefs where China has engaged in island-building.

Robinson conceded there was "a possibility of a miscalculation" leading to conflict in the increasingly militarized region.

But she said the United States and China had signed an agreement on air-to-air rules of behaviour in international airspace in September and would continue discussions on the subject this year.

"That has allowed us to have continuous dialogue with the Chinese about how to conduct safe intercepts and intercepts in accordance with international rules and norms," Robinson said.

She said Russian long-range aircraft were also increasingly active in the Pacific, flying around Japan and Guam.

As part of U.S. plans to increase its military presence in the Pacific, Robinson said discussions were underway with the Australian military to rotate U.S. bombers through the northern Australian air force bases at Darwin and Tindal.

"It gives us the opportunity to train our pilots to understand the theatre and to strengthen our ties with our great allies, the Royal Australian Air Force," Robinson said.

U.S. Marines already rotate through Darwin in a sign of an increasingly close military bilateral alliance that riles China, Australia's most important trade partner.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 'Screaming, howling wind' from cyclone leaves thousands of Aussies without power

    World News CBC News
    Howling winds, heavy rain and huge seas pounded Australia's northeast on Tuesday, damaging homes, wrecking jetties and cutting power to thousands of people as Tropical Cyclone Debbie tore through Queensland state's far north. Wind gusts stronger than 260 km per hour were recorded at tourist resorts along the world-famous Great Barrier Reef as the powerful storm, at Category 4 just one rung below the most dangerous wind speed level, began to make landfall. Source
  • Malaysian authorities still in possession of Kim Jong-nam's body

    World News CBC News
    The body of Kim Jong-nam, who was murdered in Malaysia last month, is still in Kuala Lumpur, health minister Health Minister Subramaniam Sathasivam said on Tuesday, amid reports the remains of the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will soon leave the country. Source
  • Red Bull heir enjoys jet-set life 4 years after hit-and-run

    World News Toronto Sun
    BANGKOK — The Ferrari driver who allegedly slammed into a motorcycle cop, dragged him along the road and then sped away from the mangled body took just hours to find, as investigators followed a drip, drip, drip trail of brake fluid up a street, down an alley, and into the gated estate of one of Thailand’s richest families. Source
  • Trump takes aim at Obama's efforts to curb climate change

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - Moving forward with a campaign pledge to unravel former President Barack Obama's sweeping plan to curb global warming, U.S. President Donald Trump will sign an executive order Tuesday that will suspend, rescind or flag for review more than a half-dozen measures in an effort to boost domestic energy production in the form of fossil fuels. Source
  • Talk about horsepower; Fugitive horse, mule run loose on California highway

    World News Toronto Sun
    WALNUT CREEK, Calif. — That mustang in the rearview mirror turned out to be a real horse running on a Northern California highway — followed by a mule. Commuters east of San Francisco on Monday were stunned to see a white horse and a brown mule running across Interstate 680. Source
  • Albertans would be consulted before any pot rules set, Notley says

    Canada News CBC News
    Albertans will be consulted by the province before rules around where marijuana can be bought, sold and used roll out pending legalization next July, Premier Rachel Notley said Monday. "We're aware of all the issues, we haven't landed yet on the key decision factors because we need to consult with Albertans and we have to know exactly what the federal legislation looks like before we can figure out what our path looks like after that," she said. Source
  • Coalition isn't protecting Mosul civilians, Amnesty alleges

    World News CTV News
    BAGHDAD - A recent spike in civilian casualties in Mosul suggests the U.S.-led coalition is not taking adequate precautions to prevent civilian deaths as it battles the Islamic State militant group alongside Iraqi ground forces, Amnesty International said Tuesday. Source
  • Woman attempted to impregnate captive Mexican surrogate with syringes

    World News Toronto Sun
    A Florida woman pleaded guilty to forced labour charges after she admitted to smuggling a Mexican woman across the border, holding her captive while attempting to impregnate her with syringes. Esthela Clark, 47, of Jacksonville, told a courtroom that she paid about $3,000 to have a woman smuggled across the border from Mexico to be a pregnancy surrogate. Source
  • French tourists retrace N.S. soldier's path to Vimy Ridge

    Canada News CTV News
    Most French tourists walk the cobble stone streets around Cape Breton’s Fortress of Louisbourg to retrace the footsteps of their ancestors who fought the British over what would become Canada. But one group has crossed the Atlantic to relive the journey of a young Nova Scotia coal miner who gave his life on one of the most famous battlefields of the First World War. Source
  • White U.S. Army veteran charged with act of terrorism in killing of black man

    World News CBC News
    A white racist accused of fatally stabbing a 66-year-old stranger on a Manhattan street because he was black says he'd intended it as "a practice run" in a mission to deter interracial relationships. James Harris Jackson, 28, spoke with a reporter for the Daily News at New York City's Rikers Island jail complex. Source