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Iran Press TV

China slams 'provocative' airspace violation by US bomber

Iran Press TV

Sat Dec 19, 2015 7:53AM

China has censured the US for a 'serious military provocation' after an American B-52 strategic bomber conducted a flight over China's islands in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.

On Saturday, the Chinese government filed a formal diplomatic complaint with the US Embassy in Beijing, saying the US military is deliberately raising tensions in the region.

Beijing also demanded that Washington take immediate actions to prevent such occurrences and damage to military ties between the two sides.

On December 10, a US B-52 bomber flew over the Nansha Islands, called Spratly by China's rivals, a disputed group of hundreds of reefs, islets, atolls and islands in the South China Sea.

The bomber, according to Beijing, flew within two nautical miles of one of the Chinese artificial islands being built in the region.

The Pentagon confirmed that China had raised concerns about the incident, saying it was looking into the matter.

US officials claim bad weather made the pilot fly off course and into Chinese territory.

This is not the first time B-52 bombers have flown over the territory claimed by China. Back on November 12, US warplanes trespassed into Chinese airspace over the South China Sea.

China insists it has sovereignty over nearly all of the South China Sea. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have also overlapping claims.

The US does not recognize China's sovereignty in the disputed waters and accuses Beijing of conducting a massive "land reclamation" program in the disputed waters.

The US military, in the past months, has sent surveillance aircraft and warships to monitor Chinese activities.

Beijing for its part accuses Washington of meddling in the regional disputes and deliberately stirring up tensions in the region.

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