United States bombers fly over South China Sea to assert right

US bombers challenge China in South China Sea flyover

US bombers challenge China in South China Sea flyover

The Air Force said the Lancers took off from Guam, flew a mission over the East China Sea with their Japanese counterparts, finished the joint exercise and then flew over the South China Sea before returning to Andersen Air Base in Guam.

In the South China Sea, pressure resembles freedom-of-navigation operations.

"But China resolutely opposes individual countries using the banner of freedom of navigation and overflight to flaunt military force and harm China's sovereignty and security", Geng said.

Instead, the U.S. Air Force released astatement saying the mission "demonstrates how the U.S. will continue to exercise the rights of freedom of navigation anywhere worldwide law allows", and that the flyover was "consistent with long-standing and well-known U.S. freedom of navigation policies that are applied to military operations around the world".

China called the action "a serious political and military provocation".

Flying over the East China Sea challenges China's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), a 200-mile airspace off the coast of China that requires aircraft to identify themselves. "Flying and training at night with our allies in a safe, effective manner is an important capability shared between the U.S. and Japan", said Major Ryan Simpson, Pacific Air Forces chief of bomber operations.

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China on Friday accused the United States of trying to "flaunt military force" to harm its sovereignty in name of freedom of navigation after two American bombers flew over the disputed South China Sea disregarding Beijing's claims over the area.

China denies it is militarizing the islands it has built.

The flight from Guam on Thursday came as US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping prepare for a likely meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany.

"Meanwhile, bilateral relations have also been affected by some negative factors, for which the China side has expressed its position to the USA side". Beijing's claims in the region have been contested by Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Trump also spoke to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by phone on Sunday, with the two pledging deeper cooperation on North Korea in the wake of growing frustrations over the rogue state.

The operation comes two months after North Korea launched a ballistic missile toward Japan.

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