Admiral John Richardson says the United States has seen Chinese activity around Scarborough Shoal, which China seized from the Philippines nearly four years ago, in the northern part of the Spratly archipelago of the South China Sea. An international court ruling on a case brought by the Philippines against China over its South China Sea claims is expected within a month.
A U.S. B-52 long-range bomber on a routine mission over the South China Sea mistakenly flew within two nautical miles of an artificial island built by China near the Cuarteron Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands archipelago, according to a senior U.S. defense official. The Chinese Defense Ministry issues a statement accusing the U.S. of deliberately raising tensions in the disputed region.
A United States Navy ship, the USS "Lassen", sails near the Spratly Islands, challenging Beijing's claim that the islands are Chinese territory. China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly condemned the actions of the United States in the South China Sea, saying “China will firmly react to this deliberate provocation".
China completes the construction of two lighthouses on the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea according to Chinese state media. The U.S. and the Philippines have opposed the construction efforts.
The Philippines asks the International Court of Arbitration at The Hague to invalidate China's claims to virtually all of the South China Sea. The hearing was attended by observers from Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
China's defense ministry criticizes the United States for allegedly increasing tensions in the Asia-Pacific region by increasing its military presence and supporting Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam in longstanding territorial disputes.
Taiwan plans to expand a pier on one of the disputed Spratly Islands, parts of which are also claimed by Vietnam, Brunei, China, Malaysia and the Philippines, as the other claimants strengthen military deployment in the South China Sea.