US won’t stop air, sea patrols over West PH Sea

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WASHINGTON – The United States vowed on Thursday to keep up air and sea patrols in international waters after the Chinese navy repeatedly warned a US surveillance plane to leave the airspace over artificial islands China is creating in the disputed South China Sea and West Philippine Sea.

The Chinese navy issued eight warnings to the crew of a US P8-A Poseidon, the US military’s most advanced surveillance aircraft, when it conducted the overflights on Wednesday, according to CNN, which was aboard the U.S. aircraft.

When the American pilots responded by saying the plane was flying through international airspace, a Chinese radio operator said with exasperation: “This is the Chinese navy … You go!”

The Poseidon flew as low as 15,000 feet (4,500 meters), CNN said, and video provided by the Pentagon appeared to have been taken from directly above one artificial island.

The incident, along with recent Chinese warnings to Philippine military aircraft to leave areas around the Spratly archipelago in the South China Sea, suggested Beijing is trying to enforce a military exclusion zone above its new islands there.

Some security experts worry about the risk of confrontation, especially after a U.S. official said last week that the Pentagon was considering sending military aircraft and ships to assert freedom of navigation around the Chinese-made islands.

The senior U.S. diplomat for the East Asia, Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel, told a media briefing in Washington the U.S. reconnaissance flight was “entirely appropriate” and that U.S. naval forces and military aircraft would “continue to fully exercise” the right to operate in international waters and airspace.

 

Read more: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/05/22/15/us-wont-stop-air-sea-patrols-over-west-ph-sea

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