10:52 GMT27 February 2021
Listen Live
    Asia & Pacific
    Get short URL

    Relations between China and the US remain on a downward spiral as the latter continues to conduct freedom of navigation operations in the disputed waters of the South China Sea despite Beijing's protests.

    The US Air Force redeployed three B-2 Spirit bombers and over 200 airmen from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam located in Hawaii on January 10. According to an official statement, the redeployment is part of a regular rotation of bomber aircraft in the Indo-Pacific region.

    Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Dorr called the deployment "crucial" in helping the US to conduct military exercises with its regional allies. He further added that the move "validates [US] always-ready global strike capability". Dorr also said that the B-2 bomber deployment was meant to "showcase to a large American and international audience" that the US bombers are strike-ready 24/7.

    This is the second time B-2 bombers have been deployed to the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Last time it happened in August 2018, when B-2s conducted several "local and long-duration sorties" and trained with the 199th Fighter Squadron's F-22 Raptors.

    The deployment of the bombers comes amid ongoing tensions between Washington and Beijing over a trade row and the issue of the disputed South China Sea. The American destroyer USS McCampbell, armed with guided missiles, ventured into the sea's waters on January 7 as part of freedom of navigation operations (FONOP) despite protests from Beijing, which claims sovereignty over the area.

    READ MORE: Beijing to Beef Up Defence if Its Islands in S China Sea Threatened — Officer

    FONOPs are conducted under a freedom of navigation principle codified in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The US signed the convention, but has not yet ratified it. Despite this, Washington regularly conducts FONOPs in the South China Sea.


    WATCH US B-2 Dropping 'Mother of All Bombs'
    US B-2 Stealth Bomber Makes Emergency Landing in Colorado – Air Force
    US Responds to China by Deploying B-2 Spirit Bombers at Pearl Harbor - Reports
    US's New Nuclear Gravity Bomb Successfully Tested by B-2 Bomber - Pentagon
    US Sends 3 B-2 Spirit Stealth Bombers to Guam
    military redeployment, B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber, China, US, Hawaii
    Community standardsDiscussion