05:25 GMT +321 July 2019
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    Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force Su-30 fighter, right, flies along with a H-6K bomber as they take part in a drill near the East China Sea (File)

    Chinese Strategic Bombers Make Debut Landing on South China Sea Isles

    © AP Photo / Shao Jing/Xinhua
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    The South China Sea, a strategically and economically key maritime region, is disputed between numerous countries in the region. Beijing has been pushing its claim on the area by constructing artificial islands around the disputed Spratly Island chain.

    Several Chinese Air Force bombers have landed on islands and reefs in the South China Sea as part of ongoing landing and takes-off drills in the disputed region, the Chinese Air Force said in a statement.

    The various type of aircraft, including the long-range, nuclear strike-capable H-6K strategic bomber arrived to the islands after a series of simulated strikes on targets at sea.

    “A division of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) recently organized multiple bombers such as the H-6K to conduct take-off and landing training on islands and reefs in the South China Sea in order to improve our ability to reach all territory, conduct strikes at any time and strike in all directions,” the statement said, without mentioning the precise location of the exercise.

    READ MORE: Chinese Missile Systems in South China Sea Could Raise Risks of Conflict With US

    The statement, published on the air force’s Weibo microblogging account, quoted defense expert Wang Mingliang as saying that the takeoff and landing drills exercises will help the air force “strengthen its combat capability to deal with maritime security threats.”

    The US network CNBC earlier reported, citing intelligence sources, that China had installed anti-ship and air-to-air defenses on outposts in the Spratly Islands, which are also claimed by Vietnam and the Philippines.

    China has engaged in years of land-reclamation efforts on islands and reefs in the South China Sea and has built a number of both civilian and military facilities in the contested region.

    Related:

    Chinese Military Aircraft Spotted on Third Disputed South China Sea Reef
    China to Face Consequences for Militarizing South China Sea, White House Warns
    Chinese Missile Systems in South China Sea Could Raise Risks of Conflict With US
    Tags:
    disputed isles, bombers, drill, Chinese Air Force, Wang Mingliang, South China Sea
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