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Global Times

Liaoning aircraft carrier task group wraps up South China Sea exercises

Global Times

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/1 19:17:39

The Liaoning aircraft carrier task group of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy on Thursday wrapped up its deep sea cross-regional mobilization exercises featuring comprehensive back-to-back attack-defense mock battles in the South China Sea, which enhanced the carrier group's systematic combat capabilities, media reported on Friday.

After completing the nearly month-long exercises, the Liaoning aircraft carrier task group returned on Thursday to a naval port in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday.

The exercises were a regular arrangement in the annual training schedule and featured many intensive training subjects involving complicated air and sea situations.

Through this training, the PLA Navy further enhanced its real combat-oriented training capabilities in the deep seas and tested the Liaoning aircraft carrier task group's systematic combat capabilities, Xinhua said.

Gao Xiucheng, a PLA Navy spokesperson, on April 13 announced that the Navy organized the aircraft carrier group in a cross-regional mobilization, which saw the flotilla led by the aircraft carrier crossing through the Miyako Strait, Bashi Channel and entering the South China Sea for exercises.

According to a statement the Japanese Defense Ministry released on April 12, a Chinese flotilla, consisting of the Liaoning aircraft carrier, two Type 052D guided missile destroyers, two Type 054A guided missile frigates and one Type 901 auxiliary supply ship, was spotted by the Japanese when crossing the Miyako Strait on April 10.

While the Xinhua report did not detail the training subjects of the aircraft carrier group, a report by the PLA Daily on April 23 revealed that it held comprehensive back-to-back attack-defense mock battles in the South China Sea.

The exercises came at a time when the US has been sending warships and aircraft into the South China Sea with increasing frequency, even as the US Navy has been struggling to deal with multiple COVID-19 outbreaks.

The Chinese military will continue to conduct training activities in related seas and airspaces in accordance with the law, said Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian at a regular press conference on Thursday when asked about the Liaoning's training activities.



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