China told Japan on Friday that it can expect Chinese bombers flying past regularly.
A formation of Chinese H-6 bombers flew through the Miyako Strait Thursday during a training exercise which the Japanese defense ministry characterized as “unusual.” The Chinese military, both the navy and the air force, has been pushing farther into the Western Pacific in recent months to expand China’s military power.
“China’s military modernization plan includes the development of capabilities to attack, at long ranges, adversary forces that might deploy or operate within the Western Pacific Ocean in the air, maritime, space, electromagnetic, and information domains,” the Pentagon wrote in a recent assessment of China’s growing military capabilities. China has actually conducted multiple bomber flights into the Western Pacific, breaking past the first island chain and expanding its reach.
Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said it followed the bombers closely as they flew just outside its air defense identification zone.
The Miyako Strait is a strategic entryway to the Western Pacific which runs between Okinawa and Miyako, two Japanese islands located to the northeast of Taiwan, an autonomous island which Beijing regards as a renegade province. While Taiwan monitored the situation, the Japanese Self-Defense Force scrambled fighters in response.
The Chinese defense ministry called the moves “legal and proper.”
“The relevant side should not make a fuss about nothing or over-interpret, it will be fine once they get used to it,” Chinese defense ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said Friday.
China sent bombers through the Miyako Strait in December, and several weeks later, they were followed by China’s first carrier battle group led by the Liaoning, a outdated Soviet vessel converted into an aircraft carrier to aid China’s efforts to field a formidable blue water navy.
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