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Chinese bomber planes land on the South China Sea disputed islands

US warn: drills can foment new tensions

During a drill China first landed long-range bomber aircraft, including some H-6K capable of nuclear attack, on the disputed islands of the South China Sea. The Chinese defense ministry announced that the maneuver was conducted on a cliff without specifying where. According to the statement, several H-6K would have carried out simulations of landing, takeoff and attack against marine targets flying over the Paracelso Islands' archipelago. The local authorities explained: "The military training in the South China Sea will help the Chinese aviation to strengthen its combat capacity to cope with threats to maritime safety".

The aim of China is undoubtedly the establishment of military settlements designed to control the Western Pacific and the surrounding seas. And precisely the bases of the Paracelsus and those placed on the Spratly Islands, archipelago protagonist of an international contest that involves the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam, are the precious tools in the hands of China. The aggressive position of the country, which does not deny the presence of anti-cruise missiles and air defense systems in the fortified outposts of the Spratly (Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief Reefs), therefore worries the countries that face the waters involved, especially Australia.

Immediate reaction from the US that declared: "The United States adheres to the principle of freedom of the Indo-Pacific area. The continued militarization of the islands of the South China Sea only increases tension and destabilizes the area".

The H-6K bomber is a further version (the "air striking platform") of the Xian H6, a copy of the 50's Soviet bomber Tupolev Tu-16 "Badger". The aircraft has a range of around 1900 nautical miles (3500 kilometers) and is re-powered with a local variant of the Soviet-made D-30KP engines. The current version of the aircraft is capable of transporting the new CJ-10/DH-10 long-range land-based cruise missile and the YJ-12 anti-ship missile. Capable of hosting six long-range air-to-air missiles, the H-6K can take advantage of the mine and torpedo bomb compartment and is equipped with a ground search radar, six attack points and a TV sensor / thermal in tower.

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