China Holds Missile Drills in South China Sea Amid Heightened Tension

(From Reuters)

China’s navy carried out drills in the South China Sea to simulate fending off an aerial attack, state media said on Friday, as the country trades barbs with the United States over responsibility for heightened tension in the disputed waterway.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed concern during a visit to Beijing on Thursday over China’s efforts to militarize the seas.

His remarks came after a flurry of U.S. activity in the region, including reports last week that U.S. Air Force B-52 bombers had flown near disputed islands that drew a sharp rebuke from China.

China’s navy carried out a simulated missile attack in an unspecified area of the South China Sea using three target drones making flyovers of a ship formation at varying heights, the official army newspaper said.

The drills were part of efforts by a training base, also unspecified, to prepare for real-life combat with aerial targets after China’s leadership said some training failed to prepare troops effectively, it added.

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