The United States has agreed with Singapore on a first deployment of the US P8 Poseidon spy plane in Singapore this month, in a fresh response to China over its pursuit of territorial claims in the South China Sea.
In a joint statement after a meeting in Washington on Monday, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen welcomed the inaugural deployment of the aircraft in Singapore from Dec. 7 to 14.
A US defense official said further deployments in Singapore could be expected. The move comes at a time of heightened tensions in the South China Sea over China's assertive pursuit of territorial claims there.
The US deployment is likely to anger China, which is at odds with Washington over the South China Sea. China claims almost the entire energy-rich sea, through which more than $5 trillion of maritime trade passes each year.
The United States already operates P8s from Japan and the Philippines, and has also conducted surveillance flights from Singapore's neighbor, Malaysia.
The statement said the P8 deployment in Singapore would "promote greater interoperability with regional militaries through participation in bilateral and multilateral exercises, while providing timely support for regional HADR and maritime security efforts."
HADR is an acronym for Humanitarian and Disaster Relief operations.
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