South China Sea: China Flies Bombers, Fighters Over Disputed Islands

South China Sea: China Flies Bombers, Fighters Over Disputed Islands
USS Ronald Reagan transits the South China Sea. Official U.S. Navy Page / Flickr CC BY 2.0

If China is trying to send a message right now, one thing is clear. They are not ready to give their claim on the disputed islands along the South China Sea. Recently, the country has followed through on its promise by conducting combat patrols in the area.


H-6K bombers, Su-30 fighters, and several other Chinese Air Force aircraft had been dispatched to the area, according to People Liberation Army Air Force’s Senior Colonel Shen Jinke on Saturday. They had managed to complete patrol of the airspace above the Nansha and Huangyan islands in the South China Sea.

According to a report by state news agency Xinhua, the patrol also included reconnaissance aircraft, tanker aircraft as well as the Airborne Early Warning aircraft. The group’s flight was said to have been part of an actual combat training conducted by the Air Force. The goal is improve its response when it comes to security threats.

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The aircraft that undertook the training missions had reportedly taken off from different airports. During the training, they conducted air defense, early warning maneuvers, as well as air combat and island patrolling. This was all said to have been done in a “complicated electromagnetic environment.”

Since the Arbitration Court at The Hague handed down the ruling in a South China Sea dispute against China in favor of the Philippines, China maintained that the said ruling has “no binding force.” Meanwhile, the U.S. only maintained that it respects the rule of law.

When China recently asked if it has deployed weapons and equipment into the South China Sea following the ruling, China Ministry of Defense spokesman Senior Colonel Yang Yujun only answered, “The Chinese military’s deployment and rotation of troops, weaponry and equipment on China’s own islands is our own business, and there is no need to read too much into it.”

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