The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force recently conducted a high-sea training mission in the Western Pacific and a joint combat patrol mission in the South China Sea, an air force spokesperson confirmed on Sunday.
Shen Jinke, spokesperson for the PLA Air Force, said a formation, including H-6K bombers and Su-30 fighters, carried out a real combat training mission in the West Pacific via the Miyako Strait.
The training aimed to improve high-sea combat ability, and was in line with international law and practice, he said.
The PLA Air Force has sent another team consisting of combat aircraft,including H-6K bombers and Su-35 fighter jets, for a joint combat patrol mission in the South China Sea area, according to Shen.
Shen said that the Su-35 fighter jets carrying out real combat training will enable the air force to improve real combat capability under long-distance and high-sea conditions.
The PLA Air Force will continue to safeguard national sovereignty and security, as well as support the country’s peaceful development through high-sea training and combat patrol missions, according to Shen.
China insists it has no hostile intent, but its sabre-rattling in the busy South China Sea waterway, and around Taiwan, has touched a nerve in the region and in Washington.
In a “freedom of navigation” operation on Friday, a U.S. Navy destroyer came within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island China has built in the South China Sea, provoking condemnation from China, which claims most of the strategic waterway.