BEIJING — China’s Shandong aircraft carrier group has recently conducted routine annual exercises in the South China Sea, the People’s Liberation Army said Sunday, after Beijing criticized the U.S. for sending Navy ships into the strategic area.
The South China Sea is particularly contentious because China's smaller
Navy spokesperson Gao Xiucheng said in a statement that the exercises were completely legitimate and part of safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests, as well as maintaining regional peace and stability.
“We hope the outside world will view it in an objective and rational way. In the future, the Chinese navy will continue to hold similar exercises as planned,” said Gao.
The Shandong is the second Chinese aircraft carrier to enter service after the Liaoning, which was originally purchased as a hulk from Ukraine and entirely refurbished.
The Associated Press