U.S. Air Force carried out training in ‘vicinity’ of South China Sea

Vastavam web: U.S. Air Force B-52 bombers have carried out training in the “vicinity” of the South China Sea and the southern Japanese island of Okinawa, the Air Force said on Friday, in what a Chinese newspaper linked to China’s drills near Taiwan.The U.S. Air Force said the B-52s took off from Andersen Air Force Base on the U.S. Pacific island of Guam and “transited to the vicinity of the South China Sea” on Tuesday.“Continuous Bomber Presence (CBP) missions are intended to maintain the readiness of U.S. forces. The U.S. Pacific Command’s CBP missions, which have been routinely employed since March 2004, are in accordance with international law.”

The exercise was reported in Taiwanese media this week, which speculated it could have been a warning from the United States to China following China’s stepped up military presence around Taiwan, the self-ruled island Beijing claims as its own.China has been issuing increasingly strident warnings to Taiwan to toe the line, and has been flying military aircraft around the island in what China calls “encirclement patrols”.

Beijing fears Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, wants to push for the island’s formal independence. Tsai says she wants to maintain the status quo and peace with China.“The U.S. cannot prevent the mainland exerting military pressure on Taiwan,” it said.

“Mainland military aircraft will fly closer and closer to Taiwan and in the end fly above the island,” the paper added.“If the Taiwan authorities openly promote the ‘Taiwan independence’ policy and cut off all official contacts with the mainland, the mainland will deem Taiwan a hostile regime and has endless means to deal with it.”