[Ed. – China has landed aircraft on some of the islands before, but this is accompanied by rhetoric — and bellicose rhetoric, at that. This is an escalation.]
China’s air force has landed bombers on islands and reefs in the South China Sea as part of a training exercise in the disputed region, it said in a statement.
“A division of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) recently organised multiple bombers such as the H-6K to conduct take-off and landing training on islands and reefs in the South China Sea in order to improve our ability to ‘reach all territory, conduct strikes at any time and strike in all directions’,” it said in the statement issued on Friday.
It said the pilot of the H-6K bomber conducted assault training on a designated sea target and then carried out take-offs and landings at an airport in the area, describing the exercise as preparation for “the West Pacific and the battle for the South China Sea”.