Air Force’s pa­trols to con­tinue over East, South China seas

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHAO LEI zhaolei@chi­

The Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army Air Force will con­tinue to carry out com­bat-ready pa­trols above the East China Sea and South China Sea and long-dis­tance train­ing op­er­a­tions, said Air Force spokesman Se­nior Colonel Shen Jinke.

Shen was quoted by the Air Force’s mi­cro blog on Thursday as say­ing that these op­er­a­tions are law­ful and rea­son­able and will con­tinue as sched­uled.

He said the re­cent pa­trols over the East and South China seas were “rou­tine and reg­u­lar” ac­tiv­i­ties of the Air Force, adding that the Chi­nese pub­lic sup­ports and urges the Air Force to con­duct more such

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The spokesman made the re­marks in re­sponse to over­seas me­dia re­ports that the PLA Air Force per­formed two drills near Tai­wan and flew over the South China Sea, Bashi Chan­nel and Miyako Strait in re­cent days.

The Air Force han­dled var­i­ous en­coun­ters and ver­i­fied and im­proved its long-range com­bat ca­pa­bil­i­ties through its long-dis­tance op­er­a­tions over the past two years, he said.

On Dec 10, two Ja­panese F-15 fighter jets fired de­coy flares and closely ha­rassed PLA Air Force planes that were pass­ing through Miyako Strait to con­duct an ex­er­cise in the western Pa­cific Ocean, De­fense Min­istry spokesman Yang Yu­jun pre­vi­ously said.

Shen said the Air Force will con­tinue to hone its ca­pa­bil­i­ties to meet the re­quire­ments of China’s na­tional in­ter­ests.

The PLA Air Force made its first pa­trol into the western Pa­cific Ocean in March last year and since then has con­ducted seven more.

Fu Qian­shao, an air­craft ex­pert with the PLA Air Force, said that com­pared with the first pa­trols by the Air Force, re­cent ones fea­tured more air­craft, longer ranges and par­tic­i­pa­tion from mul­ti­ple theater com­mands.

Wang Ya’nan, ed­i­tor-inchief of Aerospace Knowl­edge mag­a­zine, said he ex­pects that the Air Force will send early warn­ing, aerial re­fu­el­ing and elec­tronic war­fare planes to take part in fu­ture long-range op­er­a­tions.

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