Japan to Keep Close Watch in the Pacific Over China's Lone Aircraft Carrier
08:38 26.12.2016(updated 10:17 26.12.2016)
Japan will closely monitor China's aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, which was spotted earlier in the Pacific, the Japanese government's top spokesman Yoshihide Suga said Monday.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The aircraft carrier Liaoning was spotted Sunday passing between Japan's islands of Okinawa and Mijako in the East China Sea. It is part of a Chinese naval force heading to the western Pacific Ocean.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga told reporters the presence of a Chinese aircraft carrier in the area demonstrated Beijing's advanced naval capabilities, the public broadcaster NHK reported. He added the government was closely monitoring it.
The NHK cited Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force officials as saying this was the first time in their knowledge that a Chinese aircraft carrier was carrying out an exercise for global deployment in the Pacific.
China's sole operational aircraft carrier is a refurbished Soviet-built model; construction began in Ukraine in the 1980's before it was sold to China in 1998 and commissioned in 2012.
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