BEIJING --- "Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the PLA Air Force has flown over the first island chain, carried out management and control of the East China Sea and combat patrol in the South China Sea, and developed high-tech weapon and equipment at a faster pace. The PLA Air Force's strategic transformation is moving from quantitative to qualitative changes," Shen Jinke, spokesperson for the PLA Air Force, said at a press conference on Nov. 4.
The press conference was held at the site of the 11th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition (Airshow China 2016) in Zhuhai, south China’s Guangdong Province.
-- Flying over the first island chain.
The PLA Air Force's H-6K bomber flew over the Bashi Strait for the first time on March 30, 2015 for far-sea training in the West Pacific.
So far the PLA Air Force has flown over the first island chain to conduct military exercises in the West Pacific six times, dispatching a wide variety of aircraft including bomber, fighter, early warning aircraft and refueling plane.
According to international laws and practices, the PLA Air Force will organize aviation units for far-sea training beyond the first island chain regularly.
-- Management and control of the East China Sea
The Chinese government announced to set up the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on November 23, 2013, and the PLA Air Force carried out air patrol on the very day and has maintained normal patrol in the past three years.
The Air Force will continue to patrol the air space over East China Sea ADIZ to resolutely defend China's legitimate rights and interests.
-- Combat patrol in South China Sea.
The PLA Air Force dispatched H-6K bomber to carry out combat patrol in the air space near the Huangyan Island and other islands and reefs in mid-July this year, along with fighters, reconnaissance planes and refueling planes.
Combat patrol in the South China Sea by the Air Force aviation units is and will be a regular practice.
-- Air defense and anti-missile.
The PLA Air Force's ground-to-air missile force is equipped with third-generation ground-to-air missiles independently developed by China and has formed combat capability. At present, the Air Force's ground air defense unit has established a combat system covering long, medium and short ranges and high, medium and low altitudes, and its anti-missile air defense capability in IT conditions is comprehensively enhanced.
-- International cooperation.
The PLA Air Force has carried out extensive exchange and cooperation with foreign counterparts in such fields as high-level mutual visits, joint exercise and training, operational training, flight safety and equipment technology in recent years.
"Having developed for 20 years, Airshow China has evolved into an effective platform for the PLA Air Force to communicate and cooperate with foreign counterparts and interact with the masses," said Shen Jinke.
"The PLA Air Force is undergoing profound changes of milestone significance and is in urgent need of the support and help from all walks of life. We hope people can feel the PLA Air Force's willingness and expectations from this year's Airshow China and endorse our efforts to build a world-class Air Force. The PLA Air Force will fly higher and farther and get closer to the people."