Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
US sends B-52 bombers over disputed South China Sea for second time in 10 days
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
Tom Delonge has been speculating about aliens for years. According to Vulture, he quit Blink 182, the band he founded, years ago to "expose the truth about aliens," and he founded To The Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences "to advance society's understanding of scientific phenomena and its technological implications" — or, in simpler terms, to research UFOs and extraterrestrial life.
A tentative plan to build 20 miles of extra border wall in Arizona, on top of the already approved 100-plus miles, was put on hold Monday by the Pentagon.
Federal officials hoped to build the extra 20 miles of wall in the Border Patrol's Tucson and Yuma sectors. The Army Corps of Engineers said late last month that funds would come from other wall contracts that might cost less than expected. But those savings did not materialize, according to documents filed Monday in federal court in Washington, D.C.
Iran's top diplomat threatened an "all-out war" Thursday with the U.S. or Saudi Arabia if either country launches a retaliatory strike over a drone and missile attack on oil reserves that sent energy prices soaring.
Tehran's tough-talking foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, threw the gauntlet down, promising a battle that would go on "to the last American soldier."
Former Army EOD tech gets 5 years probation for trying to sell guns and explosives to buyers in Mexico
After a pair of Army explosive ordnance disposal technicians were indicted on federal charges for attempting to sell weapons and explosives to smugglers headed to Mexico, one of the two men involved has been sentenced after taking a plea deal, according to court documents filed on Wednesday.
JALALABAD, Afghanistan (Reuters) - A U.S. drone strike intended to hit an Islamic State (IS) hideout in Afghanistan killed at least 30 civilians resting after a day's labor in the fields, officials said on Thursday.
The attack on Wednesday night also injured 40 people after accidentally targeting farmers and laborers who had just finished collecting pine nuts at mountainous Wazir Tangi in eastern Nangarhar province, three Afghan officials told Reuters.
"The workers had lit a bonfire and were sitting together when a drone targeted them," tribal elder Malik Rahat Gul told Reuters by telephone from Wazir Tangi.