In the latest show of military muscle in the South China Sea, the U.S. has apparently sailed its USS Wasp amphibious assault ship near a strategic reef claimed by Beijing and Manila that lies just 230 km (140 miles) from the Philippine coast.

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A B-52 Stratofortress assigned to the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, flies the skies at the 2019 Australian International Aerospace & Defence Exposition and Airshow (AVALON 2019) in Geelong, Victoria, Australia, March 1, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa)

B-52 bombers from Guam have trained with Air Self-Defense Force and Okinawa-based U.S. fighter jets in the Western Pacific, just days after China sent a total of six bombers and other aircraft through a key entryway into the Pacific for their own military exercises.

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A B-52 Stratofortress assigned to the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, flies the skies at the 2019 Australian International Aerospace & Defence Exposition and Airshow (AVALON 2019) in Geelong, Victoria, Australia, March 1, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa)

The U.S. has sent B-52 bombers near disputed islands in the South China Sea, the U.S. Pacific Air Forces said Thursday, the second such mission over the contested waterway in 10 days.

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A B-52 Stratofortress assigned to the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, flies the skies at the 2019 Australian International Aerospace & Defence Exposition and Airshow (AVALON 2019) in Geelong, Victoria, Australia, March 1, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa)

A U.S. B-52 bomber was sent near disputed islands in the South China Sea and another circumnavigated Japan, conducting joint military exercises with the Air Self-Defense Force, the U.S. Pacific Air Forces said Wednesday.

Monday's mission in the contested South China Sea was the first reported flight in the area by a B-52 since November.

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Two U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress bombers fly over the Pacific Ocean during a routine training mission Aug. 2, 2018. (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Gerald R. Willis)

The U.S. Air Force has sent two B-52 bombers over the East China Sea for "routine training" near Okinawa Prefecture, the military has said, the latest mission in the waterway that is home to the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands.

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The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85), the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187), and the Royal Navy Type 23 'Duke' Class guided-missile frigate HMS Argyll (F231) transit during a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo)

U.S. and British warships have sailed together in the disputed South China Sea for the first time, in exercises likely to stoke anger in Beijing.

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