China has lambasted the United States for flying its B-52 bombers over the contentious South and East China Seas, disputed territory which Beijing claims historical sovereignty over.
“As for the provocative action taken by the U.S. military aircraft, we are firmly against it and we will take all necessary means to safeguard our rights and interests,” Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said at a monthly briefing in the capital, Beijing, on Thursday.
His remarks came a day after Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Dave Eastburn said that earlier in the week, a group of U.S. B-52 long-range strategic bombers had flown through “international airspace over the South China Sea,” which is almost entirely claimed by China.
He further said that on Tuesday, the nuclear-capable planes also “participated in a regularly scheduled, combined operation in the East China Sea,” where Beijing disputes territory with Japan.
The U.S., an extraterritorial power, often conducts what it calls freedom of navigation patrols in territory claimed by China, drawing Chinese objection. Washington also accuses Beijing of undertaking a land reclamation program by building artificial islands in the South China Sea.
China and the U.S. are also involved in disputes involving Taiwan and bilateral trade, as well as Beijing’s military ties with Russia.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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