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.
The Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell distance the party from presidential candidate Donald Trump’s recent comments calling for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. While not entering into a political fray – in view of U.S. partnerships with Muslim nations and Muslim personnel serving in the United States Armed Forces – the Pentagon press secretary calls anti-Muslim rhetoric a national security threat.
A U.S. defense official says the U.S. Navy plans to conduct patrols within 12 nautical miles of artificial islands in the South China Sea about twice a quarter to remind China and other countries of U.S. rights under international law. "That's the right amount to make it regular but not a constant poke in the eye," the official said.
As a result of talks between U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson and Chinese Commander of the People's Liberation Army Navy Admiral Wu Shengli about a U.S. warship's transit with 12 nautical miles of China's man-made islands in the South China Sea, the United States and China agree to maintain dialogue and follow Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea protocols, according to a U.S. official.
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".
The U.S. Navy plans to send guided missile destroyer USS Lassen within 12 nautical miles of artificial islands built by China in the South China Sea. This first freedom of navigation challenge to China's territorial claims in one of the world's busiest sea lanes may occur as soon as tomorrow, according to a U.S. defense official.
China says it will "not stand for violations of its territorial waters in the name of freedom of navigation", following a statement from a Pentagon official, that the U.S. may consider sailing warships close to China's disputed artificial islands in the South China Sea within the next two weeks.
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.