Beijing upped the ante in the South China Sea on Friday by releasing footage of its H-6K nuclear-capable bombers landing on artificially made islands in disputed waters — and it sends a clear message of who dominates the region.
China has taken an increasingly aggressive stance to back up its unilateral claims to the waters of the South China Sea, where trillions in international trade pass through every year.
The US frequently challenges China’s maritime claims there, which have been ruled illegal under international law, but recent moves from Beijing show that facts in the water have outpaced US determination.
The flight of the bombers comes after China reportedly deployed missiles and radar-jamming equipment to the islands.
U.S. Energy Information Administration
“The Chinese are becoming more confident with the deployment of their capabilities,” Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Business Insider.
China has begun to doubt “the staying power of the US and whether or not the US can really make a difference,” in its slow moving domination of the waters, Glaser said.