China navy confirms carrier conducted drills in South China Sea – 3 Jan 2017

  • China’s sole aircraft carrier conducted drills in the South China Sea, the navy said, days after neighbouring Taiwan said the carrier and accompanying ships had passed 90 nautical miles south of the island amid renewed tension between the two sides.
  • The Soviet-built Liaoning aircraft carrier and accompanying warships sailed round the east coast of Taiwan in what China called a routine exercise complying with international law. The carrier’s J-15 fighters conducted flight exercises in “complex sea conditions” on 2 Jan 17, the People’s Liberation Army Navy said on its official microblog.
  • The drills also come at a time of heightened strain with self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own, following U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s telephone call with the island’s president that upset Beijing.
  • China has been angered recently by U.S. naval patrols near islands that China claims in the South China Sea. In Dec 16, a Chinese navy ship seized a U.S. underwater drone in the South China Sea. China later returned it.
  • China’s air force conducted long-range drills in Dec 16 above the East and South China Seas that rattled Japan and Taiwan. China said those exercises were also routine.

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