China has claimed sovereignty over islands in South China sea. Countries in South China sea has disputed these claims including Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Philippines. United States support claims of these countries and has repeatedly intervened diplomatically on their behalf. On Wednesday the tensions were raised when Chinese Navy sent warning messages to a US military plane flying in the region over Spratly islands. After each warning US pilots responded that they are flying through an international airspace.
In recent months efforts are underway to develop a protocol so that any untoward action could be avoided that would jeopardize the security of the region. On Thursday, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, Hong Lei, said Beijing “has the right to monitor certain airspace and maritime areas and safeguard national security, to prevent unexpected incidents at sea.”
The building of artificial islands in the South China seas is also considered an effort by China to extend its reach. US and other countries in the region claim that these islands will be used as advance military basis.