China has for the first time confirmed the deployment of fighter jets to Woody Island in the disputed South China Sea, state media have reported.
Citing footage aired by the official state broadcaster, the Global Times reported late Friday that China had sent J-11B fighters to the island in the contested Paracel chain.
While fighter jets had been spotted on the island in 2016 and in April this year, the footage was the first time Beijing had confirmed the deployments. It was aired by China Central Television (CCTV) on Wednesday as part of a report on the air force’s expanding capabilities.
Woody Island, known in China as Yongxing Island, is the largest of the Paracels, which Beijing calls the Xisha Islands. It is the seat of the Sansha city government — covering several island groups and undersea atolls — in southern China’s Hainan province.