US Flies Bombers Over South China Sea

US bombers challenge China in South China Sea flyover

A pair of B-1B Lancer bombers soar over Wyoming in an undated file

Two U.S B-1 Lancer bombers from Guam flew over the contested South China Sea Thursday, the U.S. Air Force confirmed Friday.

The B-1B Lancer bombers from Guam airbase flew over South China Sea on late Thursday as part of operations meant to demonstrate the US commitment to freedom of navigation, the US Air Force said in a statement.

This isn't the first time US bombers have flown over the region.

U.S. Pacific Air Forces said the joint drills "demonstrate the solidarity between Japan and the United States to defend against provocative and destabilizing actions in the Pacific theater".

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On Sunday, a US Navy destroyer sailed within 12 miles of a disputed island in the South China Sea that is claimed by China, a US military official told CNN. "But China resolutely opposes individual countries using the banner of freedom of navigation and overflight to flaunt military force and harm China's sovereignty and security", he said. Such actions, however, may do little to sway China or deter it from boosting its military presence in the region.

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

China has been expanding its territory in the South China Sea by building islands over the past five years that it claims are for "navigational purposes".

"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.

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China denies it is militarizing the islands it has built.

The training mission occurred the day before President Trump and Chinese President Xi met at the G-20 summit in Germany.

Trump also spoke to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by phone on Sunday, with the two pledging deeper cooperation on North Korea in the wake of growing frustrations over the rogue state.

North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday that some experts believe has the range to reach Alaska, Hawaii and perhaps the US Pacific north-west.

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Storms in the afternoon could be strong or severe with a threat for downburst winds, heavy rainfall, and frequent lightning. Look for partly cloudy skies overnight, lows in the mid-70s and a southwest wind around 5 miles per hour .

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