The US flew two B-52 bombers near the disputed islands claimed by China in South China Sea this week, a media report has said. The Pentagon did not confirm the incident but said there was an effort by Chinese controllers to reach out to one B-52 bomber.
“I know that we conduct B-52 flights in international airspace in that part of the world all the time. My understanding is there was one B-52 flight – and I’m not even sure the date on it – but there was an effort made by Chinese ground controllers to reach out to that aircraft, and that aircraft continued that mission unabated. Nothing changed,” the Pentagon Press Secretary, Peter Cook told reporters at a news conference.
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He was responding to a question on reports that some B-52 bombers flew over the man-made Chinese islands in the South China Sea several days ago. “The US flew two B-52 bombers over the weekend near man-made islands constructed by China in the South China Sea in a clear challenge to China’s territorial claims to the area,” The Hill reported.
Pentagon spokesman Navy Commander Bill Urban said that two B-52s took off and returned to Guam on November 8 and 9 respectively, flying a “routine mission in international airspace in the vicinity of the Spratly Island of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.”
Urban said the pilots received two verbal warnings from a Chinese ground controller despite never venturing within 15 nautical miles of any feature. “Both aircraft continued their mission without incident, and at all times operated fully in accordance with international law,” he said.