News / Asia

    US Navy Warns Against Chinese Flights in South China Sea

    FILE - Aerial photo shows China's alleged ongoing reclamation of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, South China Sea, May 2015.
    FILE - Aerial photo shows China's alleged ongoing reclamation of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, South China Sea, May 2015.
    VOA News

    A senior U.S. naval officer says it would be destabilizing if China tries to fly jet fighters from its new man-made islands in the South China Sea.

    Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, the commander of the U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet, told reporters Monday in Singapore that any attempt by China to fly military aircraft from the islands would not deter U.S. flights over the area.

    "We will fly, sail and operate wherever international law permits, and that includes flying over that airspace," he said.

    "We're not being provocative here," Aucoin added. "We are just exercising our rights and freedom according to international law, and we will continue to do this. It will benefit all countries no matter their size and strength."

    Aucoin said he does not know when China might start flying fighter-type aircraft from the disputed Spratly archipelago, where China has created artificial islands and a 3,000-meter runway.

    When asked about the impact of possible Chinese jet fighter patrols, Aucoin said "it's a destabilizing uncertainty." He urged China to make its intentions for the South China Sea better known, saying it would relieve some of the "angst" that countries are expressing.

    Aucoin's comments come amid a two-day summit in California between President Barack Obama and leaders from Southeast Asian nations. The issue of the South China Sea is expected to be high on the agenda.

    China claims much of the South China Sea, while several other nations, including the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam, have rival claims.

    Some information is from Reuters.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: william li from: canada
    February 16, 2016 1:20 PM
    dear america, where is the so called freedom of navigation then? or it only "free" for american navy and flights, but not for China? If US can sail warships, fly fighter jets in South China sea, so does China! BTW, China has no intention to deter anyone or militarize south china sea . China is building a Chinese Maldive to attract tourists from around the world and make profits. We will build 7-stars hotels on our artificial islands! along with hundreds of resorts. Tourists can come enjoy the white beach, clear water, delicious sea food. South China sea soon will become a heaven for tourists. This money is much cleaner than the oil money!
    In Response

    by: Stephen Larson from: United States
    February 16, 2016 4:32 PM
    The Navy cautioned them about flying MILITARY aircraft from the man-made island. Build your resorts and hotels, just keep the military off the island. Simple enough?

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