Zhang Xiaogang, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense. (Photo/mod.gov.cn)
A carrier battle group of the People's Liberation Army Navy has recently conducted training operations in the Pacific Ocean to improve its combat capability, according to a Defense Ministry spokesman.
Senior Colonel Zhang Xiaogang said on Thursday in Beijing that the training activities of the CNS Shandong carrier battle group were meant to strengthen the group's joint operational capability and hone the fighting skills of sailors and pilots so they can better safeguard the national sovereignty, security and interests.
"I must make it clear that the operations were routine arrangements included in the Navy's annual training plan and were in line with international law and common practices. We will continue to organize such training activities on a regular basis," he said.
This is the second time this year for the Shandong group to carry out training in the Pacific. The first took place in April.
The Shandong — China's second aircraft carrier and the first wholly designed and built in the country — displaces at least 50,000 metric tons of water. Commissioned in December 2019 to the South Sea Fleet, it is currently the largest and most sophisticated naval ship now in any Asian navy.
It usually carries tens of J-15 fighter jets, the spearhead of the Chinese naval aviation force, as well as several helicopters.