Chinese fighter jets have made a patrol flight over contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
Chinese fighter jets made a patrol flight over contested Spratly Islands, also known as the Nansha Islands, in the South China Sea, the Chinese Defense Ministry’s spokesman, Senior Colonel Shen Jinke said on August 6, the Xinhua news agency reported.
“A group of Chinese jets, including a H-6 bomber, a SU-30 fighter and other military aircraft, made a patrol flight in the airspace above the Nansha Islands,” Shen said.
The fighter jets were escorted by Airborne Early Warning Aircraft (AWACS) and flying tankers. According to Xinhua, the patrols included “air defense early warning maneuvers, air combat and island patrolling, in a complicated electromagnetic environment.”
The Chinese military official said the mission was an “actual combat training to improve the Air Force’s response to security threats.”
Beijing’s territorial claims to the Spratly Islands, which are believed to be rich in oil and gas reserves, run counter to those of the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.
On Friday, about 230 Chinese fishing vessels and Coast Guard ships passed by the Japanese-controlled islands of Senkaku, which are called Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea.