The Chinese military has sent fighter planes and bombers to conduct live-fire exercises at a range in the disputed South China Sea, state broadcaster CCTV reported Saturday, just days after the U.S. sent heavy bombers through the strategic waterway twice during the past week.

The short report said that dozens of fighters and bombers from the People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force from the Southern Theater Command had conducted the drills to test pilots' assault, penetration and precision-strike capabilities at sea.

Beijing on Thursday blasted the U.S. flights over the South China Sea earlier this week by B-52 bombers, calling them a "provocation."