The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force has sent warplanes for the second time in a week to patrol around the island of Taiwan in a gesture to deter "Taiwan independence" forces and show the Chinese mainland's resolution to safeguard sovereignty.
According to the official Sina Weibo account of the PLA Air Force, H-6K bombers, fighter jets, reconnaissance planes and Air Early Warning planes took off from military airports Thursday morning and conducted real-combat military training.
The warplanes flew over the Miyako and Bashi straits to complete their circuit of the island.
The Chinese air force's ability to prepare for and fight a war has experienced a historic shift, Shen Jinke, a PLA Air Force spokesman, said at a military air base in East China's Fujian Province.
"The PLA Air Force has firm resolution, ample confidence and sufficient capability to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity," Shen said.
Wu Qian, defense ministry spokesman, also said on Thursday that the PLA will take further actions if "Taiwan independence" forces continue to act without restraint.
Taiwan's administrative head Lai Ching-te said earlier that he was a "Taiwan independence" worker drawing ire from Beijing.
China conducted live-fire military exercises in the Taiwan Straits on April 18.
On April 19, the PLA Air Force dispatched bombers to patrol around Taiwan to practice and upgrade their capability to protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity, according to an official air force statement.
On Wednesday, Taiwan media reported that the US dispatched two B-52 bombers to fly near the Dongsha Islands, calling such a move "a response to the PLA's recent military exercises surrounding Taiwan" and claiming the flight path of the bombers was "a typical flight course for attack."
China's defense ministry said Thursday the PLA has learned about the relevant situation.
Song Zhongping, a military commentator, told the Global Times that the B-52 flight course suggested a patrol, not an attack.
"In terms of air defense capability, the PLA Navy and Air Force are able to cover the entire East China Sea, the island of Taiwan, the Yellow Sea and the majority of the South China Sea," he said.
"Two B-52 bombers, which is an older model, can barely achieve strategic deterrence, let alone attack," Song noted.