A U.S. Air Force Boeing B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam performs a fly-over at the Singapore Airshow in Singapore, in this file photo taken February 14, 2012. REUTERS/Tim Chong/Files
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Two U.S. B-52 strategic bombers flew near artificial Chinese-built islands in the South China Sea this week and were contacted by Chinese ground controllers but continued their mission undeterred, the Pentagon said Thursday.China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion in global trade passes every year, and the United States has said it will continue conducting patrols to assure unimpeded passage.In the latest mission, on the night of Nov. 8 and 9, the bombers flew "in the area" of the Spratly Islands but did not come within the 12-nautical-mile zones that China claims as territory around islands it has built in the chain, said Commander Bill Urban, a Pentagon spokesman."The B-52s were on a routine mission in the SCS (South China Sea)," taking off from and returning to Guam, Urban said.Chinese ground controllers contacted the bombers but the aircraft continued their mission unabated, Urban said.
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