Home Business Chinese bombers conducted an 'attack exercise' in the South China Sea

Chinese bombers conducted an ‘attack exercise’ in the South China Sea




  • Chinese H-6G and H-6J bombers practiced nighttime takeoffs and set their sights on sea targets, China’s Defense Ministry said.
  • The maneuvers come just weeks after two US Navy aircraft-carrier strike groups conducted drills in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.
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Chinese bombers took part in a high-intensity exercise over the South China Sea, Beijing said on Thursday, just weeks after two US aircraft carrier strike groups conducted drills of their own in the disputed waters.

Both H-6G and H-6J bombers from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) were involved in the drills, which simulated nighttime take-offs, long-range raids, and attacks on sea targets, the defense ministry said.

The exercise was part of the Chinese military’s regular operations to boost its combat readiness, spokesman Ren Guoqiang said. He did not specify the exact location of the drill or say when it took place.

Meanwhile, the PLA Southern Theatre Command said on Thursday that a naval fleet of three frigates — the Liupanshui, Qujing and Meizhou — took part in a drill in the South China Sea earlier this month.

South China Sea Island




Chinese dredging vessels in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, May 21, 2015.

REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters


The increase in military maneuvers comes amid a sharp uptick in tensions between China and the United States over the strategic waterway.

Earlier this month, Washington formally labelled most of China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea illegal, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying the US and the world would not allow Beijing to treat the waterway as its “maritime empire.”




Ren, however, said China had “indisputable sovereignty” over the South China Sea and said the exercises led by the USS Ronald Reagan and USS Nimitz aircraft carrier strike groups were evidence of America’s “hegemonic attitude” in disturbing the peace and stability in the region.

“We demand the US side stop issuing wrongful remarks, stop its provocative military actions in the South China Sea and stop sowing discord among countries in the region,” he said.

Retired PLA naval officer Wang Yunfei said last week that US President Donald Trump might be considering launching a surprise attack on features in the South China Sea claimed by Beijing in an effort to boost his re-election bid.

The Nimitz-class aircraft carriers USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) transit the South China Sea. The USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Carrier Strike Groups are conducting dual carrier operations in the Indo-Pacific

Nimitz-class aircraft carriers USS Nimitz and Ronald Reagan in the South China Sea.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cody Beam


Scarborough Shoal, which is also claimed by the Philippines, was one of the most likely options, should such a move be made, Wang said in an article posted on Phoenix Television’s website.

Collin Koh, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said the chance of a close encounter between US and Chinese warships or planes was rising.

“The [PLA] drill comes not long after the US conducted dual carrier drills, so it’s plausible it was aimed at showing resolve and the ability to threaten the movement of carriers transiting the South China Sea,” he said.

The use of H-6 bombers suggested the drill might have been “training for maritime strikes on US Navy carrier strike groups.”




“After Pompeo’s statement [about the South China Sea] and increased US Navy activity, we might anticipate the PLA ramping up its challenges,” he said.

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