Exercise described by air force as preparation for the battle for the disputed waters
China’s air force has landed bombers on islands and reefs in the South China Sea as part of a train exert in the disputed region, it said in a statement.
Several bombers of various types- including the long-range, nuclear strike-capable H-6K- carried out landing and take off drills at an unidentified island airfield after carrying out simulated ten-strike develop on targets at sea, the Chinese airforce said.
” A division of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force( PLAAF) recently organised multiple bombers such as the H-6K to conduct take-off and landing educate on islands and reefs in the South China Sea in order to improve our ability to’ reach all province, conduct strikes at any time and ten-strike in all directions ‘,” it said.
The statement said the pilot of the H-6K bomber conducted assault training on a designated sea target and then carried out take-offs and landings at an airport in the field, describing the workout as part of the preparations for” the west Pacific and the battle for the South China Sea “.
The notice, published on the PLAAF’s Weibo microblogging account, did not provide the exact location of the exert.
The US has dispatched warships to disputed areas of the South China Sea in a bid to challenge China’s extensive sovereignty asserts in the territory, “whos also” subject to claims by Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia. The waters are vital global shipping roads and contain what are believed to be significant petroleum and natural gas deposits.
” The United States remains committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific ,” Pentagon spokesman Lt Col Christopher Logan told.
” We have watched these same reports and China’s continued militarisation of disputed features in the South China Sea only serves to raise tensions and destabilise the region .”
Wang Mingliang, a defense expert cited in the Chinese statement, said the takeoff and landing exercisings will help the us air force” strengthen its combat capability to deal with maritime security threats “.
The move comes weeks after US network CNBC reported that China had installed anti-ship and air-to-air defences on outposts in the Spratly Islands that are also claimed by Vietnam and the Philippines, quoting sources close to US intelligence.
Washington advised Beijing would face unspecified “consequences” over its militarisation of the South China Sea, and said it had raised the issue with China.
In an analysis published on its website, CSIS said the place of the runway was believed to be Woody Island, China’s largest base in the Paracel Islands, which is also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.
China has engaged in years of land-reclamation endeavors on reefs it controls in the region and built both civilian and military facilities in the contested area.
Chinese military facilities include air bases, radar and communications systems, naval facilities and defensive weaponry including landing strips able to accommodate military planes.
Reuters and Agence France-Presse contributed to this report
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