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Japan needs to get used to China's air force drills over the high seas

(People's Daily Online)    10:20, April 07, 2015
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force completed a military drill for the first time in the airspace above the west Pacific Ocean on March 30, 2015, and returned to base later the same day. (Chinanews.com/Zhan Changyuan)

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force completed a military drill for the first time in the airspace above the west Pacific Ocean last Monday, and returned to base later the same day.

The drill was a routine exercise included in the air force's annual training plans and is in line with international laws and practices. However, Japan and some western media have been quick to begin muttering about 'ulterior motives'. A Japanese news agency claimed that the drill is intended as a demonstration of China's air power to its neighbors, and some media have suggested that China's air force is likely to exacerbate tensions in the South China Sea.

Such misinterpretations have no base in reality.

Firstly, it is well known that offshore training is an effective method to raise air force combat capability up a level, and similar drills are a common practice among major world powers. Fighters and reconnaissance aircraft of Japan's Air Self-Defense Force have frequently flown over the west Pacific Ocean and East China Sea, and U.S. Air Force fighters have been conducting regular drills, training, and reconnaissance over the west Pacific Ocean, East China Sea, South China Sea and even the Korean peninsula for many years. The media arguments from Japan and certain other western media only show that they still insist on applying a hostile filter to China's normal military development.

Secondly, China is a maritime country, but not a maritime power. The country has suffered much aggression in the past due to its weak coastal defenses, and that has left indelible scars on the nation. It is now essential that the PLA Navy and Air Force upscale their defense and combat capabilities through drills over the high seas, and also respond to the objective needs for safeguarding national maritime security.

Thirdly, with the improvement of China's comprehensive national strength and global status, the international community needs China to shoulder more responsibilities and obligations, which also requires China's navy and air force to gear up its offshore capabilities.

Finally, I hope other countries will take a rational look at the normal development and training activities of China's military forces. In recent years, as China's comprehensive national strength and economic power has grown, China has made great progress in its drive for modernization, but there is still a big gap compared with the developed countries. It is normal for China to strengthen its national defense and military, whose goal is to safeguard the country's sovereignty and security.

This article was edited and translated from 《日本应习惯中国空军远海训练》,source: People's Daily Overseas Edition, author: Zhang Junshe, researcher at Naval Military Academic Research Institute.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Du Mingming,Gao Yinan)

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