(ANSA) – BEIJING, MAY 06 – A flotilla of the Chinese navy exercising in the western Pacific, in the waters south of Okinawa and east of Taiwan, ended up in close monitoring by Japan and the USA: this is the scenario that emerged this week, destined to be repeated more frequently in an increasingly strategic area.
The aircraft carrier Liaoning, with its attack group of 7 naval units – including 5 destroyers, including a Type 055, the most powerful in the Chinese fleet – led the maneuvers, while the Japanese light aircraft carrier Izumo (a former helicopter carrier) was guard nearby. The Liaoning, the Soviet Kuznetsov-class aircraft carrier bought by Ukraine and later refurbished, was photographed on Tuesday as it departed and retrieved its J-15 fighters and Z-18 alert helicopters, Japan’s Defense Ministry said.
The Japanese Air Force took off its fighters in response to Chinese navy activities, the ministry added, citing a Kawasaki P-1 maritime patrol aircraft and a Lockheed P-3 Orion maritime surveillance and anti-submarine aircraft. In addition to the Izumo, the US Navy’s strike group of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln was also operating in the Philippine Sea at least as of Monday, according to the US Naval Institute website.
“It is possible that the Chinese, Japanese and US aircraft carriers are in close proximity to each other,” noted the Global Times, the nationalist tabloid of People’s Daily, the voice of the Chinese Communist Party. “It is almost certain that Japanese and US warships and warplanes will conduct close reconnaissance attempts and make some provocative moves towards the Chinese flotilla,” the tabloid added citing some experts, according to which “Chinese ships and planes they must be well prepared to face them with confidence. ” (HANDLE).