Beijing has said it is necessary for the Asian powerhouse to keep growing its military presence in the South China Sea in order to protect its sovereignty.
The US Navy was warned five or six times by the Chinese military and the crew responded.
The response was: «I am a sovereign immune United States naval aircraft conducting lawful military activities beyond the national airspace of any coastal state.
«In exercising these rights as guaranteed by international law, I am operating with due regard for the rights and duties of all states.»
Next, the Chinese navy warned a Philippine military aircraft and they were not as polite.
They said: “Philippine military aircraft, I’m warning you again, leave immediately or you will bear responsibility for the consequences.”
The US Navy P-8A Poseidon jet was flying at 16,500 feet to get a view of low-lying coral reefs that have been turned into garrisons with five-storey buildings, large radar installations, power plants and runways sturdy enough to carry large military aircraft.
A voice said: “US military aircraft, this is China leave immediately and keep out to avoid any misunderstanding.”
I’m warning you again, leave immediately or you will bear responsibility for the consequences
Each time the aircraft was challenged by the Chinese military, the US Navy crew’s response was the same.
Before the crew were warned, the jet’s sensors picked on 86 vessels on the Subi Reef that included Chinese coast guard ships. On the Fiery Cross Reefs rows of hangars stood alongside a lengthy runway.
LT. Lauren Callen who lead the air combat crew on the Navy flight said: «It was surprising to see airports in the middle of the ocean.»
China’s Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration issued a notice on August 10, announcing that the Chinese navy will perform a major military exercise in the Yellow Sea from August 10-13.
China also blames Washington and its allies for tensions in the region.
It says that the regular US Navy patrols and flyovers of the South China Sea are efforts for the US to provoke China and therefore the country is justified in increasing its military presence.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: «By playing up the so-called China’s militarisation in the South China Sea, certain people in the US are staging a farce of a thief crying ‘stop thief’.
«It is self-evident to a keener eye that who is militarising the South China Sea.»
China and several neighbouring countries have been locked in a bitter and long-running dispute over who controls territories in the South China Sea, a region rich in natural resources.
Beijing has claims over most of the territories, but the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also claim they have a stake in the region.
Beijing claims the waters by right, despite a UN ruling in 2016 deciding the disputed region does not belong to China.
As a result, China has been claiming unoccupied land on reefs and shoals to build de-facto military outposts to intimidate rivals with competing claims.
The incident comes after China tested a hypersonic aircraft that can carry “unstoppable” nuclear warheads at staggering speeds of 4,563 mph.
A team of scientists conducted the first successful flight of the Starry Sky-2 hypersonic aircraft at a secret location in northwest China on Friday last week.
A statement issued by the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA), which oversaw the testing process, said the flight was a “huge success” in a statement on Monday.