BEIJING:   China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force has announced that it will be organizing regular exercises that fly past the first island chain — a major entryway into the western Pacific.

Beijing describes the latest overflight of Chinese fighter jets between two Japanese islands in the western Pacific as “routine exercises,” and says that Tokyo should get used to the practice.

Air force spokesman Shen Jinke said China had sent a fleet of aircraft that included H-6K bombers, Su-30 fighters and air tankers over the Bashi Strait and into the western Pacific for a “routine” combat simulation drill Monday, state media reported.

The fleet conducted reconnaissance and early warning training, sea surface cruising and in-flight refueling, and achieved all the drill’s targets, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

“It is legitimate for Chinese military planes to fly through the strait, and more similar training will be conducted on the high seas as needed,” Xinhua news agency reported citing Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang as stated on Friday.

The spokesman also advised them to react more calmly and to get used to such maneuvers.

“The parties concerned don’t need to overact and make a great fuss about it. They will feel better after getting used to such drills.”

“China’s air force over the past week conducted multiple drills far out at sea, with H-6K bombers and many other types of aircraft flying through the Bashi Channel and Miyako Strait, testing actual battle capabilities over the sea,” Reuters reported, citing an air force statement.

On Thursday, the flyover of six Chinese bombers in the Miyako Strait provoked Japan to scramble its own military planes, although the move did not violate the country’s airspace.


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