Chinese Air Force Keep Up East China Sea Patrols
22:01 03.12.2015(updated 22:10 03.12.2015)
The Chinese defense ministry announced its bombers recently conducted exercises beyond 'the first island chain' over the East China Sea.
The Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) recently conducted air exercises over the Miyako Strait, just south of the Japanese island of Okinawa, China's People's Daily reported on Monday.
'Aircraft including H-6K bombers flew over the Miyako Strait and performed a long-distance drill far into the western Pacific Ocean, reaching more than 1,000 km beyond the First Island Chain,' said Shen Jinke, spokesperson for the PLA Air Force.
'The PLA Air Force also sent H-6K bombers and other types of fighters and airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft at the same time to patrol the Air Defense Identification Zone over the East China Sea.'
Following China's air exercises, the Japanese press reported that the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) assigned F-15 warplanes to intercept Chinese warplanes approaching Japan's southern islands.
According to a Japanese defense official, six Chinese warplanes flew over the open sea about 1,700km southwest of Tokyo and between Okinawa and Miyako in south Japan. The Chinese warplanes did not violate Japan's airspace, said the official.
China established its Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea in December 2013, and since then has carried out constant air patrols of the area. Li Li, a professor with the PLA National Defense University, told China Military Online that China has carried out four high-sea training beyond island chains this year, twice via the Bashi Channel and twice via the Miyako Strait.
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