China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force has announced that it will be organizing “regular” exercises that fly past the so-called first island chain — a key entryway into the western Pacific that includes Japan’s Ryukyu Islands and Taiwan.
In the latest exercise, air force spokesman Shen Jinke said China had sent a fleet of aircraft that included H-6K bombers, Su-30 fighters and air tankers over the Bashi Strait and into the western Pacific for a “routine” combat simulation drill Monday, state media reported.
The fleet conducted reconnaissance and early warning training, sea surface cruising and in-flight refueling, and achieved all the drill’s targets, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
“This is common practice for the air forces of sea-adjacent states, and a normal requirement for China’s national defense and military-building,” Shen said, adding that the move was “in accordance with international law and practice.”
The Xinhua report also said the air force would focus on improving the quality of such drills, “flying over island chains, controlling the East China Sea and cruising the South China Sea.”
Full article: Chinese Air Force announces ‘regular’ exercises flying through key entryway into western Pacific (The Japan Times)