Pentagon to send warplanes to South China Sea

The Pentagon is considering sending warplanes to the South China sea in an effort to counter China's presence and show "freedom of expression" in the waters there.

Pentagon to send warplanes to South China Sea

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Pentagon is considering sending U.S. military aircraft and ships to assert freedom of navigation around rapidly growing Chinese-made artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter requested options that include sending aircraft and ships within 12 nautical miles (22 km) of reefs that China has been building up in the Spratly island chain, the official said.

Such a move would directly challenge Chinese efforts to expand its influence in the maritime heart of Southeast Asia.

"We are considering how to demonstrate freedom of navigation in an area that is critical to world trade," the U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, adding that any options would need White House approval.

Carter's request was first reported earlier on Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal, which said one option was to fly Navy surveillance aircraft over the islands.

It quoted U.S. officials as saying there was now growing momentum within the Pentagon and the White House for taking concrete steps in order to send Beijing a signal that the recent build up in the Spratlys had gone too far and needed to stop.

The Pentagon and White House did not immediately comment but the South China Sea is likely to be a topic of discussion when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visits China this weekend.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Mayıs 2015, 09:39