After runway test, China military flights are expected


HONG KONG/BEIJING—China’s first landing of a plane on one of its new island runways in the South China Sea shows Beijing’s facilities in the disputed region are being completed on schedule and military flights will inevitably follow, according to foreign officials and analysts.

China’s increasing military presence in the disputed sea could effectively lead to a Beijing-controlled air defense identification zone, they said, ratcheting up tensions with other claimants and with the United States in one of the world’s most volatile areas.

China has confirmed that a test flight by a civilian plane landed on an artificial island built in the Spratlys, the first time Beijing has used a runway in the area.

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