A Chinese fighter plane has been spotted on the Chinese-held Woody Island in the South China Sea, the first such sighting since U.S. President Donald Trump took office.
The sighting of the J-11 fighter was reported by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative on March 29, with the news being released shortly before Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida this week.
The leaders discussed tensions in the South China Sea, but have been positive about their meeting. They also discussed curbing North Korea’s nuclear activities and a 100-day plan for trade talks. Trump accepted Xi’s invitation to visit China.
"We have made tremendous progress in our relationship with China," Trump said. "We will be making additional progress. The relationship developed by President Xi and myself I think is outstanding. And I believe lots of very potentially bad problems will be going away."
Xi said: “We have engaged in deeper understanding and have built a trust. I believe we will keep developing in a stable way to form friendly relations ... For the peace and stability of the world, we will also fulfill our historical responsibility.”
“I agree with you, 100 percent,” Trump replied.
Meanwhile, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the occupation of uninhabited islands it claims in the South China Sea on Friday. “The unoccupied, which are ours, let's live on it,” Duterte said while visiting a military base in Palawan. “It looks like everyone is making a grab for the islands there.”
Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims in disputed parts of the South China Sea.