China’s air force has landed bombers on islands and reefs in the South China Sea as part of a training exercise which is being seen as a show of force.
Global fears have been raised after China sent nuclear bombs and warplanes as part of a simulated training exercise with air force officials declaring that the country was “preparing for battle”.
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The Express reports: Air force personnel confirmed it had ”organised multiple bombers” to conduct “take-off and landing training” along islands and reefs in the South China Sea, as practise in light of a full-scale war.
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Several bombers – including the long-range nuclear weapon H-6K – carried out strike training at targets on sea, as well as conducting landing and take-off exercises on islands and reefs.
The Chinese airforce said: “A division of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) recently organised 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 pilot of the H-6K bomber confirmed he conducted air strikes on various sea targets and carried out landings and take-offs at an undesignated airport on the South China sea, declaring the exercises as “preparation for the west and Pacific and the battle for the South China Sea.”
The US hit out against China’s extensive sovereignty claims in the disputed seas, dispatching warships to challenge their long-standing feud against Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia, who also claim to own parts of the sea.
The South China sea is rich in oil and natural gas deposits, and is a route frequently taken by ships and cargo from various regions globally.
Pentagon spokesman Lt Col Christopher Logan said: “The United States remains committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific.
“We have seen these same reports and China’s continued militarisation of disputed features in the South China Sea only serves to raise tensions and destabilise the region.”
Wang Minglian, a defence expert said China’s nuclear exercises will “strengthen its combat capability to deal with maritime security threats.”
This comes after US network CNBC reported that China had set up anti-ship and air-to-air defences in the Spratly Islands, a region Vietnam and Philippines claim to own.
The US has continuously lashed out at Beijing for their military action in the disputed seas, declaring it would face drastic “consequences” if it did not halt its nuclear ambitions, saying it had raised the same issue with China as well.