China issued a warning to the U.S. following a reported flyby when American B-52 bombers went past man-made islands in the international waters of the South China Sea, which China claims sovereignty over.
The U.S. is said to have flown the B-52 nuclear-capable bombers over the disputed islands this week. CNN first reported the flyby, but the report was denied by the Pentagon.
“Stop stirring up troubles in the South China Sea, because freedom run amok carries risks and their benefit-seeking behavior comes with a cost,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Wednesday, the Washington Examiner reported.
“China will never be intimidated by some military vessels or planes, the presence of which will only strengthen our resolve to take all necessary measures to safeguard our national sovereignty and security and uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea,” Hua added.
China has accused the United States of militarizing the South China Sea after two U.S. B-52 bombers flew over the Chinese-held Scarborough Shoal in a show of force: https://t.co/1y6Lwqyf9j
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) June 6, 2018
China claims nearly the entire South China Sea, which includes shipping lanes where trillions of dollars worth of goods are transported. Other countries – including Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines – also claim parts of the disputed South China Sea.
China in recent months installed jamming equipment, and anti-ship and cruise missiles on the islands.
“Despite China’s claims to the contrary, the placement of these weapons systems is tied directly to military use for the purposes of intimidation and coercion,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said last week at a security summit in Singapore.
Tensions between China and the U.S. have grown in recent weeks, with China sending warships into the South China Sea during a U.S. Freedom of Navigation Operation where two U.S. warships sailed near the Parcel Islands.
The U.S. also recently disinvited China from a naval exercise that China has participated in in the past.