Saturday, 19 October, 2019

US Air Force trains near S. China Sea

US Air Force trains near S. China Sea US Air Force trains near S. China Sea
Patty Aguilar | 27 April, 2018, 23:39

Beijing has recently stepped up pressure on her government with a string of air and naval exercises around the island, including live-fire drills in the Taiwan Strait last week.

US B-52s have carried out training in the vicinity of the South China Sea and Japan's Okinawa Island, the US Air Force (USAF) said yesterday, in an exercise a Chinese newspaper linked to China's drills near Taiwan.

A post on the Air Force's official microblog said multiple missions were launched from separate bases featuring aircraft including fighters, early warning planes and the H-6K long-range bomber.

Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Senior Col. Wu Qian told reporters Thursday that "the situation is under the control of the Chinese military".

On Wednesday, China's Taiwan Affairs Office, said drills near Taiwan were created to send a clear message to the island, and China would take further steps if Taiwan independence forces persisted in doing as they pleased.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen said on Friday (April 27) she would be willing to meet her Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to mend fraying ties in the wake of a landmark summit between the leaders of the two Koreas.

She also expressed hope that all other countries in the region will do their parts to maintain regional peace and stability.

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An editorial in China's state-run Global Times responded to reports of the B-52 drills, saying that "the Taiwan independence forces had better abandon their dream that the USA can protect them".

"We will try our best for the prospect of peaceful reunification, but I have to point out that to engage in "Taiwan independence" is a dead end, and there is no way to win an armed confrontation", Mr Wu said.

"If the Taiwan authorities openly promote the "Taiwan independence" policy and cut off all official contacts with the mainland, the mainland will deem Taiwan a hostile regime and has endless means to deal with it".

Aircraft Spots, a Twitter account that tracks military movements, reported that two bombers left Guam Tuesday headed for the South China Sea along with two KC-135R refueling aircraft.

China has been angered by United States "freedom of navigation" patrols in the disputed South China Sea, where China has allegedly reclaimed land for military bases, and by USA support for Taiwan's democracy.

As part of China's military modernization, its new aircraft carrier could soon begin sea trials, according to images on Chinese news portals this week of the vessel leaving its dock in the northern city of Dalian.

Beijing yesterday warned shipping to keep away from an area off Dalian for a week, for what it called military activities, but gave no further explanation.

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