South China Sea: Beijing’s Shandong Completes Military Exercise – “Ready for Battle” | World

South China Sea: Beijing’s Shandong Completes Military Exercise – “Ready for Battle” | World

Shandong is the second PLA Navy aircraft carrier after Liaoning, which currently operates elsewhere in the South China Sea. Chinese Navy spokesman Gao Xiucheng said the latest exercise focused on field communications, maneuvers, coordination and training.

Mr. Gao said on May 2 that the exercises were “legitimate and can strengthen China’s capacity to protect national sovereignty, security and development interests.”
He added: “We hope the outside world can see [the Shandong’s exercise] objectively and rationally.

“The PLA Navy will continue to conduct similar exercises on a regular basis as per plan going forward.”

The ship was commissioned in December 2019 by Chinese President Xi Jinping and obtained operational clearance in October last year.

The PLA ship is capable of carrying a fleet of Shenyang J-15 fighter jets equipped with more weapons and fuel than the F / A-18 Super Hornets used on US Navy aircraft carriers.
The Shandong military exercises come as tensions between Beijing and Washington escalate over South China Sea issues.

Last month, the US Navy released a photo taken from the deck of the USS Mustin showing Navy officers surveying Liaoning at very close range.

Following this, China criticized the United States for “destabilizing” the region after Liaoning warned the USS Mustin.

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On the same day as the Chinese warning, US President Joe Biden told Congress that competition with China would be a litmus test and vowed to maintain America’s technological advantage over China.

The other Chinese aircraft carrier group led by Liaoning also recently completed military exercises and training around Taiwan, Wu Qian a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of National Defense said Thursday.

An anonymous expert told PLA spokesperson Global Times that the deployment of Shandong and Liaoning would allow China to deploy warships more often. He noted that while one vessel is undergoing maintenance, the other can take its place.

Also speaking to the Global Times, analysts confirmed that recent military exercises in Liaoning and Shandong show that Chinese carriers are actively training in “combat readiness” to deal with any threat.

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Mr. Wu said, “Chinese aircraft carriers are not ‘home corps’ and long-distance travel is bound to become the norm.”


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