Chinese Air Force Begins Regular Combat Patrol of South China SeaPosted: July 19, 2016
China does not set up an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea like it has done in the East China Sea due to its dispute with Japan over the sovereignty of the Diaoyus (known as Senkakus in Japan) as the US does not take sides in the dispute.
The situation in the South China Sea is much more serious. The US supported the Philippines to get an arbitration ruling that denies China’s rights and interests in the South China Sea. In addition, it has urged China to respect such a ruling. As a result, establishment of an ADIZ to require others to inform China of their entries into the ADIZ is far from enough.
Taiwan has sent a warship to patrol its exclusive economic zone around its Taiping Island that the ruling has denied as it regards Taiping as a rock instead of an island.
China certainly has to do something more serious. Instead of the establishment of an ADIZ, Chinese air force has begun routine combat patrol of South China Sea since July 17.
I had a post on July 17 on Chinese air force publishing the photo of a Chinese H-6K strategic bomber patrolling the islands and reefs in the South China Sea. I point out in my post that in the photo, the island below the bomber is the Scarborough Shoal. However, I did not know at that time that the H-6K bomber was carrying out a routine combat patrol.
The next day, Senior Colonel Shen Jinke, spokesman of Chinese air force, announced in Beijing that Chinese air force had recently organized warplanes to conduct routine combat patrol of the South China Sea for imminent missions and real war preparations. The patrol fleet consists of H-6K bombers, fighter jets, reconnaissance aircrafts, aerial tankers, etc. Their major manners of patrol include aerial reconnaissance, confrontational air battle, patrol of islands and reefs, etc.
Senior Colonel Shen says that the combat patrol aims at promoting profound development of real war training, enhancing real war capabilities to deal with various security threats and safeguarding China’s sovereignty and security.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Air force bombers patrol quite a few islands and reefs in the South China Sea” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)