A Chinese military plane H-6 bomber © Reuters
Reuters: China conducts 'combat patrols' over contested islands
China's air force sent bombers and fighter jets on "combat patrols" near contested islands in the South China Sea, in a move a senior colonel said was part of an effort to normalize such drills and respond to security threats.
The exercises come at a time of heightened tension in the disputed waters after an arbitration court in The Hague ruled last month that China did not have historic rights to the South China Sea.
The air force sent several H-6 bombers and Su-30 fighter jets to inspect the airspace around the Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal, Senior Colonel Shen Jinke of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force said, according to state news agency Xinhua.
The patrols included surveillance and refueling aircraft, Xinhua said, although it did not say when they occurred.
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More News On China Beginning Combat Patrols Over The South China Sea
Chinese military aircraft patrol South China Sea -- Xinhuanet
PLA Air Force holds fresh patrols in South China Sea as it seeks to ‘normalise’ stepped up surveillance -- South China Morning Post
Chinese Air Force flies ‘combat patrols’ over Spratlys, Scarborough Shoal in South China Sea -- Japan Times
Chinese Fighter Jets Patrol Disputed Islands in South China Sea -- Sputnik
Beijing sends bombers, fighter jets on combat patrols over contested S. China Sea -- RT
China sends fighter jets and bombers as bitter row over South China Sea intensifies -- Express
Japan Protests as Beijing Flexes Muscles in South China Sea -- VOA
South China Sea: Big powers now manoeuvring through troubled waters -- ABC News Online
South China Sea dispute: China's gone ballistic since the Hague ruling -- Keith Johnson, Sydney Morning Herald
Why is China flying 'combat patrols' over Spratly Islands? -- Max Lewontin, CSM
Why Xi Jinping is fanning the South China Sea crisis -- Katsuji Nakazawa, Nikkei Asian Review