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US military challenged territorial claims of India, China: Pentagon
April 26, 2016, 5:29 am

The U.S. military conducted so called "freedom of navigation" operations against 13 countries last year [Xinhua]

The U.S. military conducted so called “freedom of navigation” operations against 13 countries last year [Xinhua]

A new Pentagon report has claimed the US military carried out “freedom of navigation” exercises to challenge territorial claims of China and India in 2015. 13 countries were targeted by the US military.

China’s Ministry of National Defense on Monday responded to media reports that six U.S. Air Force planes performed a flight mission in “international airspace” in the vicinity of Huangyan Island in the South China Sea on April 19.

“We have noticed such reports, and it should be pointed out that the U.S. is pushing militarization of the South China Sea in the name of ‘Freedom of Navigation,'” the ministry’s Information Bureau said in a statement.

China is concerned about and opposed to such actions which threaten the sovereignty and security of countries around the South China Sea and undermine regional peace and stability, it stressed.

US military aircrafts and naval ships carried out these operations against China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Libya, Malaysia, the Maldives, Oman, the Philippines and Vietnam, the Pentagon report on Monday said. The purported aim of these assertive US missions are to demonstrate that Washington will not accept the claims of jurisdiction of these countries over disputed areas.

Indian officials have not yet reacted to the Pentagon report.

The US Defense Department listed “prior consent required for military exercises or manoeuvres in the EEZ” as an “excessive maritime claim” by New Delhi that Washington challenged in 2015.

China’s Defense Ministry said in a statement on its website late on Monday that it was deeply concerned by such operations.

“The United States carries out militarization in the South China Sea in the name of freedom of navigation and overflight, threatens coastal nations’ sovereignty and security and destroys regional peace and stability,” the ministry said.

Both India and China were listed by the Pentagon report as countries against whom the US military carried out multiple exercises between October 2014 to September 2015.


TBP and Agencies