SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China's air force has dropped bombers on islands and reefs in the South China Sea as part of an exercise in the disputed region, a statement said.
"A detachment of the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) recently organized several bombers, such as the H-6K, to perform take-off training on islands and reefs in the South China Sea to improve our ability to" achieve that entire territory, strike at any time and strike in all directions, "it says in Friday's statement.
He said the H-6K bomber pilot had carried out an attack training on a specific sea target and then launches and landings on one Airport conducted in the area and described the exercise in preparation for "the Western Pacific and the battle" for the South China Sea ".
The announcement posted on the PLAAF's Weibo microblogging account did not include the exact location of the exercise.
The United States has sent warships to disputed areas of the South China Sea to challenge China's extensive sovereignty claims in the area that is subject to various demands from China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Bruneis and Malaysia.
"The United States remains committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific," Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Logan told Reuters.
"We have seen the same reports and China's continued militarization of controversial features in the South China Sea only serves to increase tensions and destabilize the region."