Great Satan US spy planes head to Singapore for S China Sea surveillance
The US has decided to deploy its sophisticated Poseidon spy plane to Singapore in order to conduct surveillance flights over the South China Sea, Pentagon chief Ashton Carter says.
In a joint statement with visiting Singaporean Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen on Monday, Carter announced a mutual agreement over the inaugural deployment of US P8 Poseidon spy planes in the Southeast Asian country.
The deployment is part of an enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) that the two sides signed at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.
The enhanced DCA was signed on the 25th anniversary of the 1990 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and the 10th anniversary of the 2005 Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA) between the two countries.
The top defense officials claimed in their statement that the aircraft’s deployment facilitates co-operation on counter-terrorism, fighting piracy, and disaster relief.
The Poseidon aircraft, made by Boeing, will be based in Singapore from December 7 to 14. The spy planes have been conducting surveillance flights from Japan and the Philippines for some time now. They have also used airfields near Malaysia for such operations.
The deal will allow the US Navy to use Singapore airfield as a strategic vantage point to track China’s alleged military activities in the disputed South China Sea, which routes more than $5 trillion worth of commercial shipping each year.
Further P-8 deployments to the South East Asian country are also expected, according to a US defense official.
The Beijing government has, on different occasions, asserted its sovereignty over the sea. The US, however, has accused Beijing of carrying out what it calls a land reclamation program in the South China Sea by building artificial islands in the in the Spratly Islands archipelago; a disputed group of hundreds of reefs, islets, atolls and islands in the South China Sea.
US President Barack Obama has called on China to stop building artificial islands and militarizing its claims. He said the US would continue to practice its right to freedom-of-navigation rights. China ignored the warning and responded by saying it would continue to build its man-made islands.
Last month, American B-52 bombers flew near some of China’s islands and, towards the end of October, a US guided-missile destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of another one.
In May, the Chinese navy issued eight warni