China slams United States after bombers fly over disputed South China Sea

China slams United States after bombers fly over disputed South China Sea

The B-1B Lancers flew from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam to the East China Sea, linking up with Japanese fighters in what was the first time U.S. Pacific Command-directed Lancers conducted training with Japanese partners at night, according to the Air Force.

The two Lancers that made the latest flight had earlier trained with Japanese jet fighters in the neighbouring East China Sea, the first time the two forces had conducted joint night-time drills. Pacific Command said on its website that two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers flew a 10-hour training mission from Guam over the South China Sea, in conjunction with the Navy's USS Sterett guided-missile destroyer.

China has made claims to almost all of the South China Sea, which holds strategic worldwide shipping routes.

The US has routinely challenged China's claims to sovereignty in the South China Sea and the issue has put a strain on relations between the two powerful nations for years. "China is adamantly opposed to actions that undermine sovereignty and security".

"China does not have problems with freedom of navigation or flights over the East China Sea and the South China Sea, and respects and supports those freedoms in accordance with worldwide law", Geng said.

Beijing has long laid claim over the waterway, disputing other countries like Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam, and building up military infrastructure to solidify its presence.

The development comes as US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping prepare for a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg.

According to the White House statement, Trump raised the growing threat of North Korea's nuclear and ballistic arsenals with the Chinese president in their phone call on Sunday.

On Tuesday, July 4th, North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that some analysts believe may be able to reach Alaska.

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