The US Defense Department's Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, David Shear, said during testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) Washington will be “placing additional Air Force assets in Australia as well, including B-1 bombers” Hastily, Australia’s embarked on diplomatic damage–limitation and its Defense ministry denied the claim.
The US Department of Defence (DoD) was “ensuring that US interests in the South China Sea are adequately protected,” Shear said according to DoD press release by the “deployment of Global Hawks and F-35s in Japan.” He also said that Washington will be adding to the stock of V-22 Osprey VTOL aircraft in the country. In addition, he stated that the US will have four Littoral Combat Ships in Singapore by 2020.
“We're deploying high-speed vessels to Singapore and Guam. We're putting a new Virginia class submarine in Guam as well, so we'll have no shortage of capabilities and assets throughout the region to back our diplomacy...”
The US is increasing military presence in the region following China's military build0-up and the recent island and airstrip construction in the disputed waters. “We claim the right of innocent passage in such areas, and we exercise that right regularly, both in the South China Sea and globally,” Shear said, accusing China of aggression. “China’s actions could pose a range of military implications… such as developing long-range radars and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft to berthing deeper-draft ships and developing a diversion airfield for carrier-based aircraft,” says a DoD press release.
China claims sovereignty in the South China Sea but the waters are also claimed by other countries in the region – Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines – which are trying to bolster their position there.