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PLA Air Force flies over Miyako Strait for training

(Xinhua)    20:55, May 21, 2015
File photo shows a bombardment aircraft of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force participating in a training. Aircraft of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force flew over the Miyako Strait for the first time on May 21, 2015 for training in western Pacific, a military spokesperson said. (Xinhua/Tian Ning)

NANJING, May 21-- Aircraft from the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force flew over the Miyako Strait for the first time Thursday during training in the western Pacific, a military spokesman said.

PLA aircraft flew over the western Pacific via the Miyako Strait between Japan's islands of Miyako and Okinawa, according to Shen Jinke.

Though no details were provided, news video broadcasted by state media CCTV showed the squadron included at least one bomber.

They returned to base after successfully completing the drill, which aims to "level up the PLA Air Force's mobility and combativeness" over the high seas, according to Shen.

The drill area was within international airspace, and no civil or international flights were disrupted, Shen said.

The Miyako Strait is one of the few international waterways connecting China's coastal waters to the west Pacific.

Thursday's exercise is the PLA's second such drill in two months. The air force conducted its first-ever exercise over the western Pacific via the Bashi Channel in late March.

The drill is a routine exercise included in the air force's annual training plans and conforms to common practices of other maritime nations. It is not targeted at any particular country, regions or targets, Shen said, adding that similar drills may be planned in the future.

"In line with international laws and practices, offshore drills by the PLA Air Force beyond the First Island Chain will proceed in consideration of actual situations," the spokesman said.

The First Island Chain refers to a series of islands that stretch from Japan in the north to Taiwan and the Philippines to the south.

According to Xing Hongbo, a military and legal expert, the PLA Air Force's adherence to international laws and norms is proof of China's role as a responsible player on the global stage.

"The western Pacific Ocean is a natural training ground of navies and air forces of all Asia-Pacific countries," Xing said.

The international community should "understand, respect, and get used to" China's future drills in the region, he said.


(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Editor:Wang Ao,Bianji)

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