CHINA / MILITARY
PLA aircraft carrier ‘shows confidence’ in fighter jet drills despite US warship’s stalking attempt
Published: Apr 18, 2021 10:08 PM
A naval formation consisting of aircraft carrier <em>Liaoning</em> has conducted take-off and landing drills in the South China Sea on Jan. 1, 2017. The formation, which is on a cross-sea area training exercise, involved J-15 fighter jets, as well as several ship-borne helicopters. Photo: Navy.81.cn

A naval formation consisting of aircraft carrier Liaoning has conducted take-off and landing drills in the South China Sea on Jan. 1, 2017. The formation, which is on a "cross-sea area" training exercise, involved J-15 fighter jets, as well as several ship-borne helicopters. Photo: Navy.81.cn



The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy showed high confidence and combat preparedness by conducting fighter jet exercises with an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea, despite the stalking attempt of a US warship, which was shadowed by a group of the PLA carrier's escorts, Chinese military observers said on Sunday, after a video allegedly taken on board the US warship went viral on social media on Saturday.

Allegedly taken by a US Navy sailor, whose ship was allegedly "tracking" the PLA aircraft carrier task group in the South China Sea over the past few days, the video shows a J-15 fighter jet landed steadily on the aircraft carrier Liaoning. The Type 052D destroyer Chengdu and the Type 055 large destroyer Nanchang were seen not far away from the carrier, serving as escorts.

Originally posted on Twitter, the video has become protected and no longer accessible to the general public as of press time, but went viral on Chinese social media on Saturday.

Despite the presence of the US ship, the Liaoning continued its fighter jet exercises as normal, which showed confidence and the adept skills of both sailors and pilots, indicating a high level of combat preparedness, a Chinese military analyst told the Global Times on Sunday, requesting anonymity.

The carrier group allowed the US vessel to view it, and this gave the US a transparent view of the Chinese carrier's capabilities, the analyst opined, noting that the situation was under complete control and the US ship was not a threat to the Chinese flotilla, because while the US ship was observing the Chinese ships, it was also being closely monitored the other way around.

This is not the first time a US warship has recently approached the PLA aircraft carrier. The USS Mustin destroyer followed the Liaoning when it sailed in the Philippine Sea on April 4, a photo released by the US Navy at the time shows.

It is normal for warships and warplanes of different countries to track and monitor each other outside of territorial waters and airspace, as long as they abide by international regulations to prevent collisions, keep safe distances and avoid other accidents, Captain (retired) Tian Shichen, president of the Global Governance Institution think tank and director of the Center for International Law of Military Operations, told the Global Times at the time.

At a time of escalating tensions in the Taiwan Straits, the US military's repeated attempts of close-in tracking of the Liaoning showed its vigilance on the PLA carrier, and sent wrong signals to Taiwan secessionist forces and other parties, giving them an illusion that the US can militarily contain the PLA on China's doorsteps, but many details in the video actually show otherwise, analysts said.

Senior Captain Gao Xiucheng, a PLA Navy spokesperson, announced on April 5 that the Liaoning carrier task group was conducting exercises near the island of Taiwan as a part of annually scheduled regular training. About a week later, the carrier sailed south into the South China Sea for further exercises, according to foreign media reports.


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