Chinese fighter and bomber aircraft carried out live-fire drills in the South China Sea this weekend, state media said.
The exercises come days after US bombers flew through the area with Japanese fighter jets — one of several recent overflights by US planes.
Activity over the South China Sea has increased amid heightened tension between China and the US.
A few days after multiple US bomber flights over the disputed waters of the South China Sea, fighters and bombers from the Chinese military carried out live-fire exercises over the same area — the latest round of drills in a period of increasing tension between the two countries.
Aircraft from the Southern Theater command of the People’s Liberation naval air force conducted “live fire shooting drills” at a sea range in the South China Sea, according to the People’s Daily official newspaper, which released photos from a broadcast by state-run CCTV.
China naval air force fighter jet exercise drill South China Sea
Chinese fighter jets during live-fire drills over the South China Sea, September 28, 2018.CCTV via People’s Daily China/Twitter
The brief report by CCTV stated that dozens of fighter jets and bombers performed the drills to test pilots’ assault, penetration, and precision-strike abilities during operations at sea, according to The Japan Times.
Those exercises came days after US aircraft carried out several overflights through the area.
On Sunday and Tuesday, a single US Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bomber flew over the South China Sea in what US Pacific Air Forces described as part of the US’s ongoing continuous bomber presence operations.
“US Indo-Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence (CBP) operations have been ongoing since March 2004,” PACAF told Business Insider, saying that recent missions were “consistent with international law and United States’s long-standing and well-known freedom of navigation policies.”
On Wednesday, a B-52H heavy long-range bomber based in Guam met Japanese Air Self-Defense Force fighter jets over the East China Sea and Sea of Japan for what Pacific Air Command called “a routine training mission.” The B-52 carried out drills with 12 Koku Jieitai F-15 fighters and four F-2 fighters before returning home.