China revived its protest over US reconnaissance planes entering what it claims as territory after the commander of the US Pacific Fleet joined an observation and  surveillance flight over the disputed South China Sea or West Philippine Sea.

Hua Chunying
Chinese Foreign Ministry Hua Chunying

The Chinese Foreign Ministry together with the Ministry of Defense said in an announcement published by state-run People’s Daily. “That’s for quite a while, US military ships and aircraft have done successive, widespread, and very close surveillance and observation of China, seriously hurting and truly harming bilateral mutual trust and China’s security interests, which could easily cause an accident at sea or in the air,”

Chief naval officer, Admiral Scott Swift joined a seven-hour reconnaissance mission on a P-8A Poseidon plane on July 18 to witness the airplane’s full scope of capabilities, the US Pacific Fleet said on its site.

China claims more than 80 percent of the South China Sea, where it has been occupied and engaged in an accelerated program of reclamation around artificial islands it’s created in the Spratly chain. Five different nations claim features in the waters, home to a portion of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

China is “qualified for the observation over related airspace and ocean ranges in order to anticipate sea and airspace mishaps and circumstances that could damage China’s national security,” China’s Foreign Ministry said May 22.

poseido
U.S. P-8A Poseidon

The Chinese naval forces issued eight warnings to a US P8-A Poseidon leading reconnaissance flights over the islands in May. US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said accordingly that the US would fly and sail wherever international law permitted.

Pacific Command didn’t says whether the P-8 aircraft with Swift on board flew over the islands that China claims.

By: Kevin N.
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