Bombers at Woody Island

THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - May 21, 2018 - 12:00am

For the first time, a Chinese H-6K bomber landed on Woody Island in the Paracels. This was confirmed by the Chinese themselves in a video showing the bomber landing on a pristine concrete runway. The H-6K is no ordinary bomber. It is capable of carrying a nuclear bomb. The range of the H-6K is over 1,500 kilometers. So if it can now operate from Woody Island, then it can reach any part of the country. Some say it can even reach Singapore, northern Australia, and Guam.

A statement from the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) said they "recently organized multiple bombers such as the H-6K to conduct take-off and landing training on islands and reefs in the South China Sea in order to improve our ability to reach all territory, conduct strikes at any time and strike in all directions." It further added that "the pilot of the H-6K bomber conducted assault training on a designated sea target and then carried out take-offs and landings at an airport in the area, describing the exercise as preparation for the West Pacific and the battle for the South China Sea." I do not know who exactly they are preparing against in the "battle for the South China Sea." The only country that can face China's military might is the US. Was that a tacit threat against the US, or Vietnam?

I do not expect this administration to say anything about the bomber landings on the Spratlys. All we will probably hear is how weak our military is compared to China, and how we cannot win a war against them. China is also not targeting the Philippines, even promising to providing protection to President Duterte should there be attempts to oust him. How we should not make a fuss about whatever China does. It would be interesting to know what they are talking about in Hawaii. DFA Secretary Cayetano is in Hawaii to meet the new US Pacific Command officials. What will the Pacific Command officials say, if the Philippines does not say anything about China's militarization of the region? Is America still a strategic ally? Are the agreements and treaties between America and the Philippines still relevant? The annual Balikatan exercises have just concluded without a statement coming from Duterte. He just left it to the military.

America has criticized China for its continued militarization of the islands, and the region. President Xi Jinping should be reminded of his promise to former US president Barack Obama that he will not militarize the region, and that navigation and overflights remain free. Surprise, surprise. This is not the first time that China did not fulfill a promise. Now, it seems they have now taken a much more aggressive stance. Practically saying if anyone wants to take the islands and kick them out, they can try. I am still waiting for Vietnam's response. The Paracels are practically at their front door.


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