The United States will station B-1 strategic bombers in Australia, US Assistant Secretary of Defense David Shear told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday.
The move comes amid increasing Chinese concern over the United States’ military activities in the South China Sea. On Wednesday, China‘s ambassador to Washington said that the US has “no right whatsoever to intervene in the legitimate activities conducted by China in the South China Sea.”
“We will be placing additional Air Force assets in Australia as well, including B-1 bombers and surveillance aircraft,” Shear said.
The South China Sea has been the site of increasing tensions in recent months as Vietnam, China and the Philippines accelerated the building of installations on the disputed Spratly Islands.China has cautioned the United States against intervening in the dispute. According to a Xinhua state news agency commentary on the US role in the dispute, “Desisting from taking sides on the South China Sea issue would be a good start.”