China ‘vigilant’ after US bombers’ training flights

BEIJING/SEOUL: China said on Friday it was monitoring US military activities in the South China Sea, after two US bombers conducted training flights over the disputed waters.
The US Pacific Command said on its website that two US Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers flew a 10-hour training mission from Guam over the South China Sea on Thursday, in conjunction with the Navy’s USS Sterett guided-missile destroyer.
The exercise comes after a US warship in late May carried out a “manoeuvring drill” within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea.
The US military conducts such “freedom of navigation” patrols to show China it is not entitled to territorial waters there, US officials said at the time.
The latest exercise was part of Pacific Command’s “continuous bomber presence” programme, but it did not give details on where it was conducted, and did not refer to it as a freedom-of-navigation operation.
“China always maintains vigilance and effective monitoring of the relevant country’s military activities in the South China Sea,” the ministry said in a statement, referring to the United States.
“China’s military will resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and regional peace and stability,” it said.
S Korea finds apparent N Korean drone: South Korea has found what appears to be a North Korean drone equipped with a camera on a mountain near its border with the isolated nation, the South’s military said on Friday, suggesting the device was on a spying mission.
Its appearance a day after Pyongyang tested a new type of anti-ship missile on Thursday, could spark questions about the state of South Korea’s air defences at a time when Seoul is trying to rein in the North’s nuclear and missile programmes.
In size and shape, the device looked like a North Korean drone found in 2014 on an island near the border, South Korea’s Office of Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement, adding that authorities plan to conduct a close analysis.
“The drone found this time looks sloppy but slightly more slender than previous ones,” a South Korean military official said on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
The device would be the latest of several North Korean drones to have flown into the South. — Reuters