Beijing: China’s first aircraft carrier has successfully completed a series of tests and training programmes in the South China Sea, amidst rising tensions over Beijing’s territorial claims in the region.
The newly-commissioned Liaoning returned to its homeport in north China, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported on Thursday.
The aircraft carrier underwent a comprehensive test of its combat system and conducted a formation practice during its 37-day voyage, the report quoted an unnamed naval source as saying. Such tests have “attained the anticipated objectives", the source said.
Liaoning’s combat and power system and its seagoing capability have been further tested during the trip. “All tests and training programmes went well as scheduled," said the source. Aircraft, naval vessels and submarines participated in the tests.
The Liaoning is China’s lone aircraft carrier in operation. It was refitted based on an unfinished carrier of the former Soviet Union. The refitted carrier was delivered to the navy in September 2012.
The news comes amidst mounting rising tensions over Beijing’s territorial claims in the region, with China and Japan squaring off over a chain of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. In November, China declared air defence rights over much of the sea. Besides, China claims almost the whole of the South China Sea.