A Chinese air force formation conducted a regular patrol exercise that passed the Bashi Channel and Miyako Strait on Monday, an air force spokesperson confirmed Tuesday.
The formation consisted of H-6K bombers, Su-30 and J-11 fighters, reconnaissance aircraft, early warning aircraft and tanker aircraft, said Shen Jinke, spokesman for the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force, at a meeting of senior air force officers.
The drill aimed to improve long-distance combat mobility and readiness as well as the ability to "safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity," Shen said.
"The PLA Air Force is progressing into a modern strategic armed force with the ability to fight in all domains," he said.
The air force conducted high-sea training exercises in line with international law and practice, he said.
Describing the exercises as "legal and reasonable," Shen announced that the air force will conduct longer distance high-sea drills in the future.
Lieutenant General Huang Guoxian, air force commander of the Eastern Theater Command, stressed the importance of developing the ability to win wars and pledged to enhance awareness and combat readiness through regular high-sea drills and practice in the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone.
Lieutenant General Xu Anxiang, air force commander of the Southern Theater Command, noted that high-sea training is vital for building the combat ability of the air force and has been common practice among air forces of major countries.