In an aggressive move that could further worsen relations between the United States and China, two US bombers flew over the disputed South China Sea today. US Air Force said that the move was meant to assert its rights to treat the region as an international territory, something that challenges China’s claims to control the entire area and call all of it as its own. The flight by the B-1B Lancer bombers from Guam took place even as U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany. At the meeting, the two leaders are expected to discuss various issues including the strategies that can be deployed to rein in North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapon programmes.
China tried to play down the flight of US bombers over the South China Sea by saying that it did not have any issues with freedom of navigation or over flight for the East and South China Seas. Further elaborating on the incident, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, “But China resolutely opposes individual countries using the banner of freedom of navigation and over flight to flaunt military force and harm China’s sovereignty and security.”