China Completes Mine-Laying Drill in South China Sea
China has successfully conducted island-bombing and mine-laying exercises in the South China Sea using its advanced H-6J bomber, Chinese state-run Global Times reported on Sunday.
Organized by a regiment based on Hainan Island, the drill involved the deployment of high-explosive aerial bombs and sea mines designed to destroy enemy ships and submarines. The exercises also reportedly demonstrated the aircraft’s traditional bombing capability and standoff strike competence.
H-6J bombers formed aerial formations and reached the designated area under harsh weather conditions. The aircraft first laid sea mines and dropped its bombs, successfully striking targets on the island.
After dropping their bombloads, the Chinese warplanes returned to base and received additional supplies of munitions and fuel before proceeding to the practice area for the next wave of bombing.
According to regiment deputy commander Zhang Yanjie, the H-6J tested the accuracy and reliability of the military’s bombs and sea mines effectively. He added that the country would continue to pursue innovations in tactics and approaches, taking into account realistic enemy counterattacks.
Strengthening Military Capabilities
Chinese military analysts have commented that recent drills in the South China Sea serve as a “deterrent” amid provocations by countries who also claim part of the contested maritime territory.
These exercises are also seen as a way for the Chinese military to strengthen its capabilities as the US continues its support for Asian nations allegedly being harassed by Chinese naval forces.
Earlier this year, China kicked off a series of naval exercises in the southern province of Guangdong. The live ammunition training was reportedly held ahead of a high-profile joint drill by the US, India, Australia, and Japan.
In May, the nation also sent its Shandong aircraft carrier group to the disputed territory to conduct naval exercises after the US deployed sophisticated naval vessels to the strategically sensitive area.
“We hope the outside world will view it in an objective and rational way,” navy spokesperson Gao Xiucheng told Al Jazeera. “In the future, the Chinese Navy will continue to hold similar exercises as planned.”