In December the U.S. flew bombers from Guam in the South China Sea near disputed islands. This is something China Refers to as a “Serious Military Provocation”.
Guam – Just last month Guam was in the middle of international tensions between the U.S. and China. In November Guam Russian bombers again flew near Guam.
Navy Public Affairs officer Lt. Tim Gorman confirmed for PNC that on Dec. 9th two U.S. B-52 aircrews out of Andersen Air Force Base Guam flew a normal training mission that resulted in two aircraft flying close to a disputed feature known as Cuarteron reef in the Spratly islands. This is a highly disputed area of the South China Sea near a group of islands that China, Japan the Philippines and Taiwan are all laying claim to.
According to Lt. Gorman the B-52’s were conducting a routine presence mission in the South China Sea and were operating on a filed and approved international flight plan. He says the close proximity of the flight path of these aircraft to this disputed feature was unintentional. This flight however did result in some backlash from the Chinese government who considered it a “serious military provocation” this according to an article on CNN.
Then there are the tensions with Russia. Back on November 25th two Russian strategic bombers flew in the vicinity of Guam. However, Lt. Gorman says they transited international airspace and stayed “outside of U.S. airspace around the territory.” TU-95 Russian Bear bombers which are able to carry nuclear or conventional warheads flew around the island of Guam a little over a year ago two times within the span of a month. Once in November of 2014 and once in December of 2014. Also according to PNC news files in February of 2013 two Russian TU-95 bombers actually flew over Guam causing the Air Force to scramble F-15 jets to track them until they left U.S. airspace.