On Friday, the single aircraft carrier in China’s disposal carried out a series of exercises, as stated by the navy without giving any specifications regarding its location, whilst disputes over maritime territory with some of the country’s Asian neighbors are escalating.
The Liaoning vessel went through some drills and various tests along with carrier-based fighter jets after departing from Qingdao.
China is placing all of its efforts into developing an ocean-going blue water navy that will be able to defend the growing interests of the 2nd largest economy in the world as it opts in for adopting a far more assertive position regarding the territorial disputes it has with some of its neighbors in the East China and South China seas.
During recent years, the country has placed a lot of effort into boosting its pilots’ skills regarding fighter jets, which includes the Shenyang J-15. The navy statement also added that during the tests the aircraft’s power, technological capabilities and war-readiness were evaluated.
The Liaoning, which is a ship dating back to the days of the Soviet Union and was bought in 1998 from Ukraine and then refitted in China, has long served as a symbol of the country’s naval build-up.
By managing to successfully operate the 60,000-tonne vessel, state media and some military experts have voiced their opinion that China has made the first step in the deployment of domestically constructed carrier vessels by the year 2020.
China’s claims regard a major part of the South China Sea, which is responsible for annual ship-borne trade passes that translate to the amount of $5 trillion. Brunei, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Vietnam also have claims for the region. China is also involved in heated disputes with Japan related to the sovereignty of some East China Sea islands.