US flies two B-1 bombers over China’s man-made islands in the South China Sea in latest challenge to Beijing as Trump attends G20

Friday, July 7, 2017
By Paul Martin

US Air Force confirms two B-1B Lancer bombers flew over the South China Sea
The bombers left the Air Force’s base on Guam on Thursday
The flights are part of the US military’s efforts to assert ‘freedom of navigation’ rights in the South China Sea, despite China’s claims over the waterway
The US is concerned over China’s buildup of military facilities in the region
7 July 2017

Two US bombers have flown over the disputed South China Sea, the US Air Force said on Friday, asserting the right to treat the region as international territory despite China’s claim to virtually all of the waterway.

The flight by the B-1B Lancer bombers from Guam on Thursday came as US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping prepare for a meeting on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Germany.

The two leaders were expected to discuss what China can do to rein in North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapon programs.

North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday that some experts believe has the range to reach Alaska and Hawaii and perhaps the US Pacific Northwest.

While Trump has been seeking China’s help to press North Korea, the US military has, nevertheless, been asserting its ‘freedom of navigation’ rights in the South China Sea, at the risk of angering China.

Asked about the flight by the two US bombers, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said there was no problem with freedom of navigation or overflight for the East and South China Seas.

‘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,’ he said.

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