China's aircraft carrier to drill in Western Pacific

December 25, 2016 05:12

BEIJING - China's first aircraft carrier will carry out drills in the Western Pacific, in what the navy called part of routine exercises, but amid renewed tension over self-ruled Taiwan that Beijing claims as its own.

The navy said in a statement late on Saturday the Liaoning, along with its accompanying fleet, would conduct "exercises far out at sea", without giving details of the location or route, in what is likely its first blue-water drill far from home waters."This exercise is being carried out in accordance with annual exercise plans," the navy said, in a statement also carried on the front page of the official People's Liberation Army Daily.

China's military has conducted its first ever live-fire drills using an aircraft carrier and fighters in the northeastern Bohai Sea close to Korea this month, and has more recently been in the East China Sea.

The navy showed pictures on its official microblog from the drills in the East China Sea, including J-15 carrier-borne fighter jets launching into the sky, overseen by navy chief Wu Shengli.

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