The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy sent its most powerful bombers with YJ-12 Missiles to join the Liaoning aircraft carrier group for training in the West Pacific on May 18, according to the state-owned Global Times.
The drills took place just one day before the President of the United States left for his maiden trip to Asia as President. He is scheduled to travel to South Korea and Japan, followed by a summit of the Quad grouping, which China regards as an exclusive clique that threatens regional security.
Two Chinese military H-6 bombers arrived in the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday after flying in from the East China Sea and crossing between Okinawa Island and Miyakojima. The bombers circled the region before returning on the same flight path, according to a press release from Japan’s Ministry of Defense Joint Staff.
The two H-6 bombers were of the H-6J variety, which is the latest enhanced version of the bomber that can carry extra electronic warfare pods and missiles, as seen in the photographs linked to the Japanese press release. Each aircraft was equipped with two YJ-12 supersonic anti-ship missiles.
According to Chinese observers, the move could be a rehearsal for keeping foreign soldiers out of Taiwan, as speculations circulated that Japan and the US were set to affirm boosting cooperation on Taiwan at an upcoming bilateral summit.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has heightened fears in Taiwan and its western allies, who feel a Chinese response is only a matter of time. Taiwan is considered a rogue province by China, which has promised to reconnect with the mainland one day, if necessary by force.
The PLA recently performed manoeuvres encircling and confining the island from the Philippine Sea to Taiwan’s east and from Japan’s south – a location that many feel is ideal for preventing external intervention if China were to start an armed reunification of Taiwan.
China has been preparing a strike against Taiwan and the US military base in Guam, angered by American backing for Taiwan’s democracy and independence, as well as the infusion of military aid into Taipei.
As previously reported by IndianDefenseNews, recent satellite photographs from a Chinese desert revealed a training base with the layout of a mock-up ship anchored in a naval base resembling one in northeast Taiwan, as well as other targets in Guam.