China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force announced that Su-35 fighter jets have been sent out for a joint combat patrol mission in the South China Sea.

The deployment is meant to be part of the air force’s efforts to conduct military training under combat conditions, China Daily reported. The training is also expected to enhance jet capabilities “under long-distance or high-sea conditions.”

China just received a group of jets from Russia last year and now we can put them into a real combat mission in the South China Sea. It also shows that China-Russia military cooperation is solid, mutual-benefited and reliability.

China and Russia sealed the deal for the shipment of 24 Su-35 fighters for the sum of $2 billion in November 2015. The first four fighters were reportedly shipped in late 2016while another 10 were handed over in 2017. The remaining 10 aircraft are reportedly to be delivered in 2018.

The Su-35 deployment was likely done in response to the January 2018 incident in which a US Navy destroyer came too close for comfort to a South China Sea island disputed between China and the Philippines.

The US destroyer, USS Hopper, came within 12 nautical miles of the disputed atoll of Scarborough Shoal, which is known as Huangyan Island in China.

China slammed the USA and accused the Land of the Free of “want only provoking trouble” in the region. The USA responded to China by reaffirming its right to conduct freedom of navigation missions.

Sputnik / AA Magnum Analyst News 2018.

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