18 July 2016
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force of China has conducted a combat air patrol in the South China Sea recently, Xinhua reported on Monday citing Shen Jinke, spokesman for China’s PLA Air Force. The patrol consists of H-6K bombers and other aircraft including fighters, scouts and tankers to patrol islands and reefs including Scaborough Shoal.
Shen said the patrol will become a regular practice in the future, according to a DPA report.
He said: “To effectively fulfill its mission, the air force will continue to conduct combat patrols on a regular basis in the South China Sea.”
On the same day, the commander of the PLA Navy Wu Shengli said China would continue construction in the South China Sea, according to a separate report by Xinhua. He made the remarks in a meeting with his U.S. counterpart Admiral John Richardson and his delegation to discuss maritime security.
We will never sacrifice our sovereignty and interests in the South China Sea,” Wu said, stressing that it is China’s “core interest” and concerns the foundation of the Party’s governance, the country’s security and stability and the Chinese nation’s basic interests.
Wu said that China will not recede over territorial sovereignty or fear any military provocation, which the Chinese navy is fully prepared to cope with.
“We will never stop our construction on the Nansha Islands halfway… the Nansha Islands are China’s inherent territory, and our necessary construction on the islands is reasonable, justified and lawful,” Wu said, using Chinese name for the Spratly Islands.
He stressed that “no matter what country or person applies pressure,” China will push forward and complete island construction as planned.
Contributed by Hue Viet.
Facts on the ground and on the waters: https://seasresearch.wordpress.com/category/south-china-sea-facts-on-the-ground-and-on-the-waters/
Militarization in the South China Sea: https://seasresearch.wordpress.com/category/events-and-analyses/militarization-in-the-south-china-sea/