The United States is being accused of militarizing the South China Sea after two American B-52 bombers flew close to a disputed Chinese-held shoal in a show of force.
The bomber flew this week over Scarborough Shoal, which China took from the Philippines in 2012, came days after U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis accused Beijing of “intimidation and coercion” in the South China Sea.
China claims the sea as their territory, almost entirely despite overlapping claims from neighbors including the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying warned the U.S. against “hyping up militarization and stirring up trouble” on Wednesday, June 6, and promised that China will take all necessary measures to defend its sovereignty.
The U.S. “doing whatever they want is risky and China will not be threatened by any military warships,” Hua told reporters at a daily briefing in Beijing.
China announced last month that it had dispatched warships to drive away two U.S. Navy vessels sailing close to Chinese holdings in the Paracel Island chain, where China recently announced it had landed strategic bombers on an airstrip for the first time.
The naval confrontation came shortly after the Pentagon uninvited China to participate in multinational naval exercises near Hawaii due to China’s militarization in the South China Sea.
Despite the rising tensions, Mattis is still expected to o visit Beijing at an unannounced date. According to him, he will travel soon at China’s invitation.
China’s Defense Ministry, for their part, said it would welcome Mattis and hoped for continued exchanges with the U.S. military. (Ritchel Mendiola/AJPress)