CHINA / MILITARY
Shandong aircraft carrier group enters S.China Sea for exercises via Taiwan Straits: PLA Navy
Published: Dec 21, 2020 11:22 AM

The picture shows aircraft carrier Shandong berths at a naval port in Sanya. China's first domestically-made aircraft carrier Shandong (Hull 17) was officially commissioned to the PLA Navy at a military port in Sanya, South China's Hainan Province, on the afternoon of December 17, 2019, making China one of the few countries in the world that have multiple carriers. Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the commissioning ceremony for the new aircraft carrier, which was named after China's eastern province of Shandong, and handed military flag to Senior Captain Lai Yijun, commander of the ship. Photo:China Military



 The Shandong aircraft carrier group on Sunday sailed through the Taiwan Straits and entered the South China Sea for exercises, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy confirmed on Monday.

Since the Shandong's commissioning a year ago, it has successfully completed missions including carrier-based fighter jet takeoff and landing, live-fire shooting and combat system calibration, as the carrier group's combat capability in an integrated system constantly rose in training tests, said Senior Captain Liu Wensheng, a spokesperson for the PLA Navy, in a statement.

This round of cross-regional maneuvers by the Shandong aircraft carrier group is a normal arrangement in accordance with its annual schedule, Liu said, noting that the PLA Navy will continue to hold more operations like this based on training requirements.

Liu's statement comes after Taiwan's defense authority said on Sunday that the Shandong aircraft carrier of the PLA Navy, together with four other affiliated warships, on Thursday set out from Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning Province, and on Sunday crossed the Taiwan Straits and continued its way south.

Chinese mainland military analysts said that after the exercises in the South China Sea, the Shandong could return to its naval base in Sanya, South China's Hainan Province.

The Shandong's Taiwan Straits transit can also be seen as a warning that aims to deter Taiwan secessionists and the US from colluding to stir up trouble in the region, after the US recently approved several arms sales to the island of Taiwan and sent a destroyer through the Straits, analysts said.

Global Times


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