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China reveals new military mission in Bohai, Yellow seas

(Global Times)    07:29, April 28, 2018

The aircraft carrier Liaoning battle group steam on the sea. The aircraft carrier Liaoning (Hull 16), several guided-missile destroyers, frigates and dozens of aircraft attached to the Navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army took part in a combat exercise at an unidentified area east of the Bashi Channel in the western Pacific on Apr. 20. The exercise was a routine arrangement as a part of the PLA Navy's annual training plan. (Photo/eng.chinamil.com.cn)

A Chinese provincial maritime authority on Friday announced another weeklong military mission in the Bohai and Yellow seas, after military missions in the same area end on Saturday.

The Liaoning Maritime Safety Administration announced a sailing warning in the Bohai Sea and north of the Yellow Sea from Friday to May 4, saying that military mission will be conducted at the designated areas, and no vessels would be allowed to enter.

On April 20, the Liaoning maritime administration issued three sailing warnings in the same area from April 20 to 28, and attributed the warnings to military missions.

"The Bohai and Yellow seas are strategically important as they are the pivotal gateway to safeguarding Beijing and Tianjin," Xu Guangyu, a retired major general and senior adviser to the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, told the Global Times on Friday.

Military drills are the road China must take to turn its armed forces into a world-class military prepared to fight and win wars, Xu said.

"However, China's military drills are limited in terms of their scale and frequency compared to its neighbors and some Western countries, including Japan, South Korea and the US," Xu said.

Military watchers attributed the warnings to possible sea trials of China's first domestically-built aircraft carrier, as media revealed previously that it could undergo its first sea trials.

Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times that the first sea trials of China's second aircraft carrier, built at a shipyard in Dalian, are likely to take place in the Bohai and Yellow seas to test its power and design.

"The wide attention on the sea trials of China's second aircraft carrier shows that Chinese people want a home-built carrier meant for combat," Xu said.

Although the aircraft carrier Liaoning possesses combat capabilities through a series of drills, one carrier is far from enough for naval power, Xu said.

On Monday, the founding day of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, the second aircraft carrier moved from its berth at the outfitting quay. Chinese military enthusiasts hailed the update, saying this could be the "best birthday gift" for the PLA Navy.

In response to widespread speculations about the sea trials of the new aircraft carrier, Wu Qian, spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense, told a media briefing on Thursday that the system adjustments and outfitting of the first indigenously made aircraft carrier are well under way. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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