04:57 GMT +325 March 2017
    PLA Air Force Xian H-6 Bomber

    Beijing Sends Heavy Bomber Over Disputed South China Sea Islands

    Military & Intelligence
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    Beijing leaders seized the past weekend as an opportunity to flex the People's Liberation Army’s (PLA) muscles in a region where many parties have staked competing territorial claims.

    Since January 1, China has flown strategic bombers over the Spratly islands on at least two occasions. Beijing has grown increasingly irritated with US Freedom of Navigation patrols roaming the waters of the South China Sea, suspecting that they are part of a coordinated espionage effort.

    The point of such military training exercises, and of this mission particularly, is to showcase China’s "strategic force," according to a PLA official.

    US Commander Gary Ross noted that the Pentagon continues "to observe a range of ongoing Chinese military activity in the region."

    Some speculate that China is aiming to strengthen its posture in response to President-elect Donald Trump’s pending inauguration on January 20. Trump has targeted Beijing across a range of issues, including artificial currency manipulation, trade agreements imbalances, and China’s failure to handle Pyongyang’s volatility.

    ​Speaking with Taiwan and publicly berating Chinese economic policies may be part of a strategy to improve US leverage in negotiating bilateral deals. Beijing has called for increased military spending in addition to accelerated development of nuclear weapons in retaliation.

    In December 2016, China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier completed a series of military exercises near the disputed waters, alerting Taiwan that the threat of its enemies is "growing by the day." Further, satellite imagery released last month showed a military buildup on the Spratly islands, which Beijing insists are basic territorial defense posts. 


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    • avatar
      so this third flight (of a single aircraft) concerns the usg?
    • avatar
      double bonus
      ​[Speaking with Taiwan and publicly berating Chinese economic policies may
      be part of a strategy to improve US leverage in negotiating bilateral deals.]

    • avatar
      Too few aircrafts, too few everything. China should have man powers on his two other aircrafts carriers those heavy obombers 24/7 for the next 2 years before returning to the sea
    • avatar
      if only Us had the opportunity, with Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Irak coups to test theirs weapons, don't mean nobody else did'n developed something like that!
    • avatar
      I wonder if the parts are interchangable between the Chinese and US bombers?
    • avatar
      childish with no so childish toys. Nothing else to do ?
    • avatar
      Maybe the bomber was actually a surveillance plane to pick up sub activity and chatter from nearby ships and planes but some clown shows a old bomber and calls it? after all China sending a bomber? over its own island makes no sense does it! or is everyone wanting to make out China is just another North Korea?
    • avatar
      China do the right think !!! It just inspect there territory noting wrong !! there have for sure better fighter jets and not to forget rockets !!! Old yes but there don't loos engine's !!!
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