Updated 9:12 AM EST, Tue, Jan 05, 2021

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China Confirms Aircraft Carrier Conducted First Drill in South China Sea


(Photo : PLAN) Shenyang J-15 fighters take-off from the CNS Liaoning.

China confirmed on late Monday that its aircraft carrier has conducted drills in the South China Sea for the first time with a formation of other warships and fighter jets, a move that could raise concerns among its neighbors, according to the Associated Press.

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The confirmation came days after Taiwan's Defense Minister Feng Shih-Kuan said that China's Liaoning, an aircraft carrier, and five other warships had sailed around the east coast of Taiwan, a move that China called a routine drill.

Several J-15 fighter jets also took off and landed on the flight deck of Liaoning on Monday, according to China's Defense Ministry. The first drill is just a part of a routine open-sea exercise of China, but this could add to tensions between Beijing and Taipei.

Tensions with Other Neighbors

The initiaitve follows after tensions have mounted in the South China Sea. Both the US and China have accused each other of engaging in a dangerous military buildup.

The carrier drills also come at a time when China has a heightened strain with Taiwan, following US President-elect Donald Trump's phone call with the Taiwanese president.

Carrier Liaoning

On the other hand, the aircraft carrier Liaoning was purchased as an incomplete hull from Ukraine more than a decade ago, but it was commissioned only in 2013.

By November, Liaoning was declared ready to engage in combat by the ship's political commissar, but China has not described specifically how it intends to use the aircraft carrier. However, many have seen it as a tool to help reinforce China's increasingly assertive claims in the South China Sea in the face of challenges from the US Navy and others.

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