A Chinese aircraft carrier formation, featuring the carrier Liaoning, has taken part in a “live combat drill” in the East China Sea, where China is involved in a territorial dispute with Japan.
A flotilla of Chinese naval vessels participated in “anti-aircraft and anti-submarine warfare training” a mock “opposing force,” the official Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.
Xinhua said the drill, which took place on Sunday, included multiple take-offs from the deck of the Liaoning aircraft carrier by J-15 fighter jets, and “anti-air missiles were fired from ships surrounding the carrier.”
The maneuver occurred in the East China Sea, where Beijing asserts sovereignty over almost all of the resource-rich waterway and is building an archipelago of artificial islands, despite rival claims from Japan.
Beijing and Tokyo dispute sovereignty over a chain of uninhabited islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
The Japanese government has long complained about China’s routine dispatch of coast guard ships to waters surrounding the islands.
The Liaoning, China’s only aircraft carrier, has been on tour in recent weeks, carrying out a series of drills accompanied by a flotilla of support ships, including destroyers.
Last week, China held drills in the Taiwan Strait, in what was seen as a show of force to self-ruled Taiwan, over which Beijing claims sovereignty.
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