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China's military discloses pilot exercises in South China Sea

China's military discloses pilot exercises in South China Sea
China's military said Thursday Beijing's navy has conducted exercises in the South China Sea. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

July 30 (UPI) -- China's military says its naval force is conducting high-intensity training in the South China Sea.

Ren Guoqiang, spokesman for China's ministry of national defense, said Thursday at a monthly briefing the Chinese forces have deployed "state-of-the-art" bombers, including the H-6G and the relatively new H-6J to the exercises. Forces in training are affiliated with China's naval aviation unit of the Southern Theater Command.

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The exercises improved the Chinese pilots' combat techniques and enhanced the their all-weather fighting capability, Ren said.

The military also "completed takeoff and landing practices for day and nighttime scenarios, and rehearsed long-distance flights as well as hitting "offshore targets."

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The statement from China's military comes after the United States warned China against provocative maneuvers in the South China Sea, which Beijing has claimed its territorial waters.

On July 13, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said China used "intimidation to undermine the sovereign rights of Southeast Asian coastal states," while "bullying them out of offshore resources" in the South China Sea.

On Thursday, Ren defended the exercises and said they were conducted according to Beijing's annual plan.

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China could be sending a warning to the United States at a time when Beijing has yet to fully resolve issues at the China-India border.

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India has positioned 35,000 more troops along the disputed Line of Actual Control despite recent bilateral talks, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

China has said the two countries are moving toward reconciliation after June, when 20 Indian troops died in a clash with Chinese soldiers.

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"Currently the two sides are actively preparing for the fifth round of commander-level talks to resolve outstanding issues on the ground," China's foreign ministry said Tuesday.

"We hope the Indian side will work towards the same goal with China, implement the two sides' consensus and jointly uphold peace and tranquility along the border."

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