The growth of China military activity in the Indo-Asia Pacific region came in the wake of the first overseas deployment of the U.S. F-35s
China has reportedly increased its flight activity in the Indo-Asia Pacific region.
An anonymous U.S. official disclosed that China had sent a H-6 bomber around the Spratly archipelago last weekend.
As reported by Reuters.com it was the second such flight in a month.
According to the official these flights could be seen as a show of “strategic force” by the Chinese.
Commander Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman, explained that he had no specific comment on China’s recent bomber activities, but added: “we continue to observe a range of ongoing Chinese military activity in the region.”
In Dec., China flew an H-6 bomber along the “nine-dash line,” (the demarcation line it uses to map its claim to nearly all of the South China Sea) a strategic global trade route. That flight also went around Taiwan, which China views as a renegade province. Moreover in August, China conducted “combat patrols” in the skies over contested islands in the South China Sea.
Furthermore on Jan. 9, the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) scrambled around 10 F-15 and F-16 fighters after China dispatched 8 of its warplanes into the Tsushima Strait, as it can be seen in the graphic released by Japan Self-Defence Forces (JSDF).
According to a press release by Japan’s Ministry of Defense, the Chinese overflights have been flown by six H-6 bombers along with a Y-8 and Y-9 airlifters.
English.yonhapnews.co.kr reported that the Chinese were inside the Korean Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ). Actually in 2013, South Korea expanded its own KADIZ to cover Ieodo on which it has scientific research facilities. China also includes it in its air defense identification zone.
Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning and its battle group also conducted exercises and weapons testing in the South China Sea last week, where territory is claimed by several regional states.
Noteworthy the growth of China military activity in the Indo-Asia Pacific region came in the wake of the first overseas deployment of the U.S. Marine Corps F-35B stealth fighters. As we have recently explained in fact the Lightning IIs from VMFA-121 have been relocated to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, on Jan. 9, 2017 in a move aimed to put the most advanced U.S. fighter aircraft forward in order to support the United States’ commitment to the defense and stability of the region as China grows more assertive.
Photo credit: www.mod.go.jp, Japan Self-Defence Forces, Wikipedia