BEIJING (Dispatches) -- China has conducted "high-intensity” aerial drills over the South China Sea, as tensions escalate between Beijing and Washington in the strategic waterway.
China’s Defense Ministry announced on Thursday that long-range Chinese bombers, the H-6G and H-6K, were among the aircraft that took part in the aerial exercises over the South China Sea,
The Chinese jet bombers carried out "high-intensity training, and completed day-and-night training exercises in taking off and landing, long-range assault, and attacks on sea targets,” Ren Guoqiang, the ministry spokesman, said at a virtual press conference in the capital, Beijing.
Ren added that the drills were part of the country’s routine training and had "achieved the expected results.”
The Chinese Defense Ministry stressed that the exercises had been pre-scheduled and were aimed at boosting the skills and capabilities of pilots to operate under various natural conditions.
The South China Sea is a gateway to major sea routes, through which about 3.4 trillion dollars’ worth of trade passes each year.
The United States routinely sends warships and warplanes to the South China Sea, ratcheting up tensions among the regional countries.
Earlier this month, Washington said Beijing’s claims to most of the sea were illegal.
At the press conference in Beijing on Thursday, Ren lashed out at the U.S. administration, saying Washington must stop stirring up troubles in the South China Sea and that China is determined to safeguard its sovereignty and security in the strategic waterway.
"China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands and reefs in the South China Sea and their adjacent waters, which is based on sufficient historical and jurisprudential evidence,” he said.
"We urge the United States to stop making erroneous remarks, taking provocative military actions in the South China Sea and sowing discord among countries in the region. The US move to stir up troubles in the South China Sea will only make China all the more determined to ride the waves, safeguard its sovereignty and security more resolutely, and safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea more firmly,” Ren underlined.
Ren also censured a statement issued by the U.S. Department of State earlier in the month, which accused Beijing of seeking a "maritime empire” in the South China Sea and destabilizing the region with its drills on the Xisha Islands.