A routine mission of a United States B-52 bomber flies within two nautical miles over China’s artificial island unintentionally on the South China Sea, senior defense officials said.

Beijing immediately filed a formal diplomatic complaint with the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, which prompted the Pentagon to look into the matter.

United States B-52 Bomber

Pentagon said, “a mission route taken by the B-52 this week wasn’t planned and they are investigating why one of two B-52s on the mission last week flew closer to Cuarteron Reef in the Spratly Islands, an area where China and its neighbors have competing territorial claims.

According to Cmdr. Bill Urban, a Pentagon spokesman,”there was no intention of flying within 12 nautical miles, it so happened that bad weather had contributed to the pilot flying off course and into the area claimed by China.”

China’s Defense Ministry said that both of the American B-52 bombers on Dec. 10 “entered without authorization the airspace around the relevant islands and reefs” of the Spratlys, but didn’t specify the precise area.

The ministry said this and other U.S. operations in the area were “serious military provocations” that endangered Chinese personnel and could cause the militarization of the South China Sea.”

It added that the Chinese military would take “all necessary measures” to protect China’s sovereignty.”

The occurrence is carefully ungainly for the White House, which is attempting to keep up stable ties with the world’s No. 2 economy while reacting to pressure from U.S. allies in Asia, as well as the Pentagon and Congress, to push back against Beijing’s recent military assertiveness. - Carl E.

Watch this U.S. B-52 Bomber awesome take-off