Wednesday, January 04, 2017

China Navy Confirms Drills in South China Sea

China’s sole aircraft carrier, the Soviet-built Liaoning aircraft carrier accompanied by five warships is conducting drills in the South China Sea according to the People’s Liberation Army Navy official microblog on Monday.

The flotilla raised alarm in Japan when it steamed between the Japanese islands of Miyako and Okinawa, as a helicopter from the carrier was spotted off the Miyako island. The flotilla then sailed to pass the 90 nautical miles south of Taiwan and rattled the island republic.

The drills could not have come in a better time of heightened strain of self-ruled Taiwan (Beijing claims its territory) and following to President-elect Donald Trump’s telephone call with the island’s president which irked Beijing.

The carrier’s J-15 fighter conducted flight exercises in ”complex sea conditions” a routine exercise, in addition to China’s air force conducting routine long-range drills this month above the East and South China Seas.

China claims most of the South China Sea through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. China aggressively entered the territorial disputes of neighboring Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam to the region, despite the international tribunal rejection.

China was angered by U.S. naval patrols near islands that China claims to the South China Sea. On December 17, 2016, a Chinese navy ship seized a U.S. underwater drone in the South China Sea which it later returned to the U.S.

Source: Reuters

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