Chinese Flattop Back to East China Sea after Drills off Okinawa


Tokyo, Jan. 2 (Jiji Press)--The Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning has returned to the East China Sea by sailing north between the main island of Japan's southernmost prefecture of Okinawa and Miyako Island in Okinawa after conducting drills in Pacific waters south of the prefecture last month, Japan's Defense Ministry said Monday.

On Dec. 16, the Liaoning and other Chinese warships traveled south between the Okinawa main island and Miyako Island to reach the Pacific Ocean, according to the ministry.

Fighter jets and helicopters based on the Liaoning took off from and landed at the aircraft carrier a total of about 320 times around the islands of Okidaitojima and Kitadaitojima in Okinawa between Dec. 17 and Saturday. The Liaoning and other ships sailed back to the East China Sea on Sunday night after apparently ending the drills.

This was the first operation by the Liaoning since May 2022, when more than 300 takeoffs and landings took place.

The latest voyage is seen to have been intended to improve the Liaoning's operational capability as it traveled a longer distance this time, according to officials of the Japanese ministry.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press