BEIJING Dec 16 China's military has carried out
its first ever live-fire drills using an aircraft carrier and
fighters in the northeastern Bohai Sea close to Korea, state
China's growing military presence in the disputed South
China Sea has fuelled concern, with the United States
criticising its militarization of maritime outposts and holding
regular air and naval patrols to ensure freedom of navigation.
Ten vessels and ten aircraft engaged in air-to-air,
air-to-sea and sea-to-air combat drills that featured guided
missiles, state broadcaster Chinese Central Television reported
late on Thursday.
"This is the first time an aircraft carrier squadron has
performed drills with live ammunition and real troops," it
China's Soviet-built Liaoning aircraft carrier and a
formation of warships carried out aerial interception,
anti-aircraft and anti-missile drills, in which Shenyang J-15
fighter jets carrying live missiles also participated, CCTV
On Wednesday, a U.S. think tank said China had been
installing anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems on artificial
islands in the South China Sea, prompting China to defend its
right to install military hardware there.
No other country has claims in the Bohai Sea, a busy
northeastern Chinese waterway and the site of Thursday's drills.
The drills aimed to test the equipment and troop training
levels, an unidentified navy official told the official China
(Reporting by Christian Shepherd; Editing by Clarence