China says it has staged large scale air exercises ‘in areas it has never flown before’ to tell the US to back off

by Jamie Seidel, News.Com.Au:

BACK off. That’s the message China sent by launching swarms of its combat aircraft – even as the US staged its own show of might.

THINGS are getting crowded in the airspace about North Korea, Taiwan, Okinawa and the South China Sea.

Beijing’s been surging its combat aircraft into contested areas in a major demonstration of its strength - and as a warning to the United States and its Asian allies.

Beijing is being coy about exactly when and where it staged its demonstrations, choosing to reveal it had sent warplanes through “routes and areas it has never flown before” on the same day the US and South Korea launched large scale mock airstrikes involving 230 aircraft.

North Korea criticised the show of force, stating US President Donald Trump was “begging for nuclear war”.

Beijing, it appears, is thinking along similar lines. “The timing of this high-profile announcement by the PLA is also a warning to Washington and Seoul not to provoke Pyongyang any further,” Beijing military analyst Li Jie told Chinese reportedly told state media.

CHINA STEPS FORWARD

Chinese media has broadcast several significant movements of Chinese air force units in recent weeks, including a redistribution of squadrons along coastal regions – including the controversial Woody Island airfield in the Paracel Islands.

These came even as Pyongyang successfully launched its biggest, and longest-ranged, experimental intercontinental ballistic missile yet.

Beijing says its exercise included the use of reconnaissance and AWACS radar control aircraft working in conjunction with strike fighters. It included the rapid redeployment of PLAAF aircraft from deep within China to coastal districts before flying far out to sea.

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