Chinese navy holds ‘confrontational drills’ in South China Sea

The Chinese navy has carried out a series of “confrontational drills” in the South China Sea, according to state media, at the same time as a United States aircraft carrier

group launched “maritime strike training” in the contested waterway. The Chinese navy’s Shandong aircraft carrier group conducted “realistic combat-oriented confrontational

exercises” in the South China Sea, the Communist Party-owned Global Times news website reported on Sunday, citing a statement from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

During the drills, which simulated hostile aircraft attacks, J-15 fighter jets took off from the Shandong and carried out interception training, the Global Times said. The

carrier group also practised attack and defence on the surface, in the air and underwater, it added. The report came as the US navy said its Nimitz carrier strike group was

also carrying out exercises in the South China Sea as part of its “routine operations in the Indo-Pacific”. Beijing claims almost the entirety of the strategic South China

Sea and has established military outposts on artificial islands it has built there. Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines also have claims to the

resource-rich waters. Washington calls Beijing’s claims to the waterway “unlawful” and regularly sends warships through the area in what it calls “freedom of navigation”

exercises. In a statement on Friday, the US navy said the Nimitz carrier strike group — comprised of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, a guided-missile cruiser and three

guided-missile destroyers — conducted “maritime strike training” as well as “anti-submarine operations” in the South China Sea.