China continues to show its muscle in the South China Sea as one of their H-6 strategic bombers was spotted circling the disputed Spratly Islands. For some time China has been building artificial islands in this area and constructing airbases for military aircraft on them. Many countries including the United States are disputing China’s claim to these islands.

A View of Chinese Runway on Mischief Island (reef)

The flight could be seen as a show of “strategic force” by the Chinese, a US official said.

It comes after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has signaled a tougher approach to China when he takes office on Jan. 20, with tweets criticizing Beijing for its trade practices and accusing it of failing to help rein in nuclear-armed North Korea.

Commander Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman, said he had no specific comment on China’s recent bomber activities, but added: “we continue to observe a range of ongoing Chinese military activity in the region‎.”

In December, China flew an H-6 bomber along the “nine-dash line” it uses to map its claim to nearly all of the South China Sea, a strategic global trade route. That flight also went around Taiwan, which China views as a renegade province.

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In August, China conducted “combat patrols” near contested islands in the South China Sea. – Reuters

PLAAF_Xian_HY-6_Li_Pang-bomber
People’s Liberation Army Air Force Xian HY-6 at Zhuhai Airshow by Li Pang via Wikimedia Commons

Let us know your thoughts on what China is doing on these islands and what you think the United States should do, if anything, about it.

Featured Image of Mischief Island taken from a video captured by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the United States Navy