WEST PHILIPPINE SEA — China has landed a bomber on its man-made islands in the heavily disputed territory of the South China Sea for the first time.
According to Chinese state media, a long-range H-6K bomber was used in landing and take off drills.
Beijing's defense ministry did not say where the bomber landed, but added the drills included simulated strikes against sea targets.
According to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, using Chinese social media posts, identified the location as Woody Island.
The H-6K has a combat radius of almost 1,900 nautical miles (3,520 km), meaning all of Southeast Asia would be in range from Woody Island, according to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative.
The South China Sea is a vital global trade route subject to overlapping claims by six countries.
Analysts say China will soon land bombers even farther south in the Spratly Islands, where runways and hangars have also been built on reefs.