Beijing: China’s air force has again flown heavy bombers over the contested South China sea, part of what it calls “routine” flights in the strategic waterway.
The flights are “routine,” part of “combat air patrols,” a Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman told. The H-6K bombers deployed from an inland port in northern China, spokesman Shen Jinke noted. The representative did not disclose how many aircraft were involved in the exercise
The air force began training with an aim of “honing their ability to win a potential war” after the Communist Party wrapped up its twice-a-decade congress at the end of October, Shen added.
China also claims most of the South China Sea, through which $3 trillion in trade passes each year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims in the waters.
Beijing has come under fire for building what a U.S. admiral called a “great wall of sand” in the waters, including seven man-made islands in the Spratly chain, where it has fortified those outposts, constructing military-grade airfields and installing what it says is “defensive” weaponry.
The South China Sea flight came after Japan’s Defense Ministry said Sunday that Beijing had sent bombers and intelligence-gathering aircraft over international airspace through the Miyako Strait.