Chinese Air Force's Long-Distance Training Over Water Continues to Increase and Expand [open pdf - 540KB]
"In November and December 2017, China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force conducted at least nine long-distance training flights over maritime areas along China's periphery, continuing a trend that began in 2015. Since 2015, long-distance over-water training has become more frequent, featured a greater variety of aircraft, and extended into areas in which the air force had not previously operated. The long-distance over-water training is part of a broader PLA Air Force effort to transition from a service focused on territorial air defense to one capable of conducting offensive and defensive operations beyond China's coast. [...] These training activities serve various purposes, many of which impact U.S. interests: (1) improving the PLA Air Force's capability to execute maritime missions in contingencies involving countries along China's maritime periphery--many of which are U.S. allies and partners--and the United States; (2) gathering intelligence against the militaries of neighboring countries and other foreign militaries operating along China's maritime periphery; and (3) reinforcing Beijing's claims over portions of the East and South China seas and pressuring Taiwan."
U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission: https://www.uscc.gov/