China reportedly landed one of its H-6K heavy bombers on Woody Island in the Paracels late last week, increasing concerns about Chinese militarization of disputed islands in the South China Sea, prompting a complaint and “appropriate diplomatic action” from the Philippines.
H-6K bombers have sufficient range to cover the entire South China Sea from Woody Island.
Earlier this month, China deployed antiship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missiles on the disputed Spratly Islands off the coast of the Philippines for the first time.
The Pentagon also expressed its concerns in a Saturday email warning that “China’s continued militarization of disputed features in the South China Sea only serves to raise tensions and destabilize the region.”
“If the international community cannot get its act together, sooner or later we are going to see China get de facto control of a very important maritime highway,” William Choong of the International Institute for Strategic Studies told the Wall Street Journal.