US sends B-52 bombers over disputed South China Sea for second time in 10 days

news
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.


The Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) said in a statement that the two B-52s had taken off from Andersen Air Force Base on the U.S. island territory of Guam, and participated in "routine training missions."

"U.S. aircraft regularly operate in the South China Sea in support of allies, partners, and a free and open Indo-Pacific," the statement said.

The B-52 aircraft involved in the mission were part of the U.S. Air Force's "continuous bomber presence" based in Guam. Since 2004, the U.S. has rotated B-1, B-52 and B-2 long-range bombers out of Guam to conduct training missions in Asia.

Akin to the U.S. Navy's so-called freedom of navigation operations, in which it has sailed warships near disputed islands claimed by China in the South China Sea, the air force missions are intended to assert that the area is international airspace as well.

Beijing has built up a series of military outposts in the South China Sea, which includes vital sea lanes through which about $3 trillion in global trade passes each year.

Washington and Beijing have frequently jousted over the militarization of the South China Sea, where China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines all have competing claims.

The U.S. does not maintain any claims there, but says the operations are conducted globally with the aim of promoting freedom of navigation.

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command chief Adm. Philip Davidson said last week that the United States has observed a rise in Chinese military activity in the South China Sea area over the last year.

Davidson declined to quantify the increased activity — nor would he say whether the number of freedom of navigation patrols would increase or remain stable.

"It's building, it's not reducing in any sense of the word," Davidson was quoted as saying in Singapore on March 7 when asked about China's military activities in the waterway. "There has been more activity with ships, fighters and bombers over the last year than in previous years, absolutely."

———

©2019 the Japan Times (Tokyo). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

SEE ALSO: China Swallowed Islands In The South China Sea. Now It Wants To Eat Djibouti Like Groceries

WATCH NEXT: FONOPs Are Not Fun Ops

President Dwight D. Eisenhower poses with Hospital Corpsman Third Class William R. Charette, U.S. Navy, honored for his actions in Korea on 17 March 1953. (U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command)

A Medal of Honor recipient from Michigan will have a guided-missile destroyer named after him, the United States Navy announced on Monday.

Read More Show Less
President Donald Trump has ramped up airstrikes against al-Shabab in Somalia. (Associated Press/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

The U.S. military could be guilty of war crimes in Somalia, according to a new report that challenges what the government says about civilian casualties from its bombing campaign against al-Shabab, an al-Qaida affiliate, in the African nation.

The investigation, conducted by Amnesty International, found that US airstrikes from both drones and manned aircraft killed at least 14 civilians and injured seven more people in just five of more than 100 strikes in the past two years.

"The attacks appear to have violated international humanitarian law, and some may amount to war crimes," the Amnesty report said.

Read More Show Less
Georgia Army National Guard Soldiers board an aircraft to begin the first leg of their deployment in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel. (Georgia National Guard/Maj. William Carraway)

Editor's Note: This article by Patricia Kime originally appeared onMilitary.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

A new bill would give troops with infertility related to their military service greater access to advanced reproductive treatments, including up to three completed cycles of in vitro fertilization, or IVF, and cryopreservation of eggs and sperm for those heading to a combat zone.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Osterman, the commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force, speaks to Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) during a visit aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). Marines and Sailors with the 11th MEU are conducting routine operations as part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group in the eastern Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Lance Cpl. Dalton S. Swanbeck)

The Marine Corps' top general on the west coast is readying his Marines for the next big war against a near peer competitor, and one of his main concerns is figuring out how to alter the mindset of troops that have been fighting insurgencies since 9/11.

"If anything my problem is getting people out of the mindset of [counterterrorism] and making sure they're thinking about near peer adversaries in their training programs," Lt. Gen. Joseph Osterman, commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, California, told Task & Purpose in an interview on Friday.

Read More Show Less
A Ruger AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, center, the same model, though in gray rather than black, used by the shooter in a Texas church massacre two days earlier, sits on display with other rifles on a wall in a gun shop Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, in Lynnwood, Wash. (Associated Press/Elaine Thompson)

A new bill introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives would require a significant number of state residents own "at least one" AR-15 semi-automatic rifle with the help of a hefty tax break — except it won't ever get off the ground.

Read More Show Less