The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force will conduct combat air patrols in the disputed South China Sea on regular basis.
The PLA Air Force recently conducted a combat air patrol with H-6K bombers and other aircraft including fighters, scouts and tankers to patrol islands and reefs including Huangyan Dao, a military spokesperson said Xinhua on Monday, adding that the patrols will become a "regular" practice in the future.
During the mission, the aircraft carried out tasks including aerial scouting, air combat and island and reef patrol, fulfilling the patrol's objective, said Shen Jinke, spokesman for the PLA Air Force.
The Air Force aims to promote real combat training over the sea, improve combat abilities against various security threats and safeguard national sovereignty and security, according to the spokesperson.
"To effectively fulfill its mission, the air force will continue to conduct combat patrols on a regular basis in the South China Sea," he said.
Shen pointed out that the South China Sea Islands have been China's territory since ancient times, and China's rights and interests in relevant maritime areas should not be infringed upon.
"The PLA Air Force will firmly defend national sovereignty, security and maritime interests, safeguard regional peace and stability, and cope with various threats and challenges," he added.