“China landed three civilian airplanes”

U.S. military leaders are “concerned” after China landed three civilian airplanes in recent days on a newly built runway on one of the manmade islands it claims in the disputed South China Sea, a Pentagon spokesman said Thursday. China landed two commercial jets on Fiery Cross Reef on Wednesday just days after it landed an airplane there for the first time since the runway was completed in September, according to China’s state-run news agency Xinhua. Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook confirmed the United States was aware of the three landings at the site in the Spratly Islands, which are also claimed by several other nations including the Philippines and Vietnam. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying described the latest moves to the Associated Press as tests of the airfield for “civil aviation” purposes. But Cook said Thursday they only raise tensions in the region”.

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