The two US B-52 bombers that flew over the spratly islands this week receives a verbal warning from Chinese air traffic controllers not to enter China’s airspace, the Pentagon said on thursday.
Chinese ground controllers sent a radio message to the aircraft, asking, “get away from our islands,” but the aircraft continued its flight undeterred in a clear challenge to China’s territorial claim to the islands, Reuters reported.
Pentagon press secretary, Peter Cook, said that the two B-52 bomber were operating in international airspace and will continue to fly over the South China Sea despite China’s warnings.
China’s warning to the B-52s are the latest example of US and China’s conflict because of Beijing’s move to expand it’s military presence in an area that has been dominated by US Navy for seven decades.
The event follows President Obama’s decision to send a navy destroyer inside the 12 nautical miles of a Chinese man-made islands to challenge Beijing’s claim on the spratly islands. It is Washington’s response to China’s intense land reclamation over the past 18 months.