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Air Force's patrols to continue over East, South China seas

By Zhao Lei | China Daily | Updated: 2016-12-16 07:44

The People's Liberation Army Air Force will continue to carry out combat-ready patrols above the East China Sea and South China Sea and long-distance training operations, said Air Force spokesman Senior Colonel Shen Jinke.

Shen was quoted by the Air Force's micro blog on Thursday as saying that these operations are lawful and reasonable and will continue as scheduled.

He said the recent patrols over the East and South China seas were "routine and regular" activities of the Air Force, adding that the Chinese public supports and urges the Air Force to conduct more such patrols.

The spokesman made the remarks in response to overseas media reports that the PLA Air Force performed two drills near Taiwan and flew over the South China Sea, Bashi Channel and Miyako Strait in recent days.

The Air Force handled various encounters and verified and improved its long-range combat capabilities through its long-distance operations over the past two years, he said.

On Dec 10, two Japanese F-15 fighter jets fired decoy flares and closely harassed PLA Air Force planes that were passing through Miyako Strait to conduct an exercise in the western Pacific Ocean, Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun previously said.

Shen said the Air Force will continue to hone its capabilities to meet the requirements of China's national interests.

The PLA Air Force made its first patrol into the western Pacific Ocean in March last year and since then has conducted seven more.

Fu Qianshao, an aircraft expert with the PLA Air Force, said that compared with the first patrols by the Air Force, recent ones featured more aircraft, longer ranges and participation from multiple theater commands.

Wang Ya'nan, editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, said he expects that the Air Force will send early warning, aerial refueling and electronic warfare planes to take part in future long-range operations.

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