China has for the first time landed bombers on disputed territory in the South China Sea, its air force said, prompting fresh US warnings that it is destabilising the region.
The long-range H-6K bomber was among those which took part in drills on islands and reefs to improve China’s ability to “reach all territory”.
The sea, a key trade route, is subject to overlapping claims by six countries.
China has been accused of militarising the sea to support its vast claims.
The latest move could provoke new tension in the region.
Beijing’s defence ministry did not specify where the bombers landed but said the training involved simulated strikes against sea targets.
An H-6K pilot, Ge Daqing, was quoted in a statement as saying that the training “sharpens our courage and enhances our capabilities in a real war”.