China continues to work to restrict access to the airspace above its South China Sea claims by U.S. and other military aircraft.

Last week, a CNN crew documented communication by People’s Liberation Army ground crews on one of China’s artificial islands in the Spratly group warning a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft to leave the area.

“Leave immediately and keep out to avoid any misunderstanding,” the Chinese voice reportedly said to the crew of the U.S. Navy P-8A. In response to the warning, the U.S. Navy crew used a standard declaration: “I am a sovereign immune United States naval aircraft conducting lawful military activities beyond the national airspace of any coastal state.”

“In exercising these rights guaranteed by international law, I am operating with due regard for the rights and duties of all states,” the U.S. response continues.

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