The Subi Reef in the South China Sea, a part of the Spratly Islands group, on Sept. 1, 2015
DigitalGlobe/ScapeWare3d—DigitalGlobe/Getty Images
November 13, 2015 4:01 AM EST

Two U.S. B52 bombers flew near man-made islands in the South China Sea, despite being contacted by Chinese air traffic control, the Pentagon said Thursday.

During the overnight operation on Nov. 8-9, the aircraft did not pass within the 12-nautical-mile radius that China claims around the artificial islands, Reuters reported Pentagon spokesperson Commander Bill Urban as saying. It was a “routine mission,” Urban said.

This is the latest test of territorial boundaries in the South China Sea since a U.S. warship sailed into waters claimed by China on a freedom-of-navigation operation in late October.

Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan all have claims to some of the reefs and shoals in the hotly disputed waters.


Write to Mark Rivett-Carnac at

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