President Donald Trump just let China know we’re dead serious about our interests in Asia and he used a bomber flyover to prove the point.
According to Reuters, two United States bombers flew over disputed areas of the South China Sea on Thursday, further asserting the right of the U.S. — and its allies — to utilize the area as international territory in spite of China’s repeated claims to nearly all of the sea.
The U.S. Air Force said in a statement that the two B-1B Lancer bombers took off from Guam and had previously conducted training exercises with Japanese fighter jets in the nearby East China Sea in joint night time drills.
“This is a clear demonstration of our ability to conduct seamless operations with all of our allies,” U.S. Air Force spokesman Major Ryan Simpson said.
The flyover comes on the heels of North Korea’s latest test on Tuesday of an intercontinental ballistic missilethat is believed to have the capability of reaching Hawaii, Alaska and even the Pacific Northwest.
And on Sunday, a U.S. Navy destroyer, the USS Stethem, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Triton, an island in the South China Sea claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan.
While Trump continues to engage in talks with China and other countries in the region to deal with North Korea, this latest flyover is yet another demonstration of the U.S. military exercising its “freedom of navigation rights” in the South China Sea.
The U.S. has increasingly grown uneasy over China’s blatant over reach in the region as it continually builds up its military facilities on South China Sea reefs and islands it has constructed to increase its strategic reach.
According to Fox News, China’s claims to the sea — which contains critical international shipping routes — has repeatedly been challenged by several of its neighbors including Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines.
With the flyover, the U.S. military demonstrated to China again this week that the South China Sea is not theirs. Just as the U.S. has not laid claim to the Pacific or Atlantic Oceans, China does not own the South China Sea and needs to share — kindly and graciously — with others.
Until China fully understands this point and stops encroaching on international waters, it will likely be treated to plenty of freedom of navigation flyovers by America’s finest military personnel and hardware.
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