In response to “freedom of navigation” operation on Friday, a US Navy destroyer USS Mustin came within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island (Mischief Reef / Kagitingan Reef) China has built.
China’s air force will hold another round of drills in the West Philippine Sea and the Western Pacific, calling such exercises the best preparation for war.
In a statement, the air force said H-6K bombers Su-30 fighter jets and Su-35 fighters including other aircraft would carry out combat patrols over the South China Sea and in the Western Pacific.
Flying across the Miyako Strait, which also sits to the northeast of the self-ruled island of Taiwan that China claims as its own, accorded with international law and practice, it added.
“Air Force exercises are rehearsals for future wars and are the most direct preparation for combat,” it said.
The more exercises China practices far from its shores, the better it will be positioned as “an important force for managing and controlling crises, containing war and winning battles,” it added.
China is in the center of an ambitious military modernization program commanded by President Xi Jinping with a focus on its air force and navy, from building stealth fighters, adding aircraft carriers, and creating amphibious assault capabilities.
It did not state when the drill took place and which part of the South China Sea and Western Pacific.