Chinese Carrier Battle Group holds naval drills amid SCS tensions

The Chinese Carrier Battle Group including aircraft carrier Liaoning has been undertaking trans-regional training since it set out from Qingdao in East China on June 25, Chinese Xinhua news agency reported.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) deployment and naval drills came amid rise in tensions in the disputed South China Sea.

On Sunday, China has sent warships and aircrafts to “warn off” USS Stethem, a US Navy guided-missile destroyer that sailed near a disputed island in the South China Sea, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang.

The naval formation includes Jinan, a Type 052C  (NATO reporting name: Luyang II/Lanzhou class) destroyer, Yinchuan, a Type 052D (NATO reporting name: Luyang III/Kunming class) destroyer and Yantai, a Type 054A (NATO codename Jiangkai II) frigate. The naval flotilla is also supported by a squadron of J-15 fighter jets deployed on the aircraft carrier and helicopters.

This training mission is conducted to strengthen the coordination among the naval vessels and to horn the skills of aircraft crew and pilots.

The formation will visit Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in early July to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) being stationed in HKSAR,  Liang Yang, spokesperson for the PLA Navy, said Sunday. Officers and soldiers will attend various exchanges and activities with Hong Kong residents and the PLA Garrison in the HKSAR, and the warships will be open for the public to visit, Liang added.

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