China shows its carrier muscle
CHINA has launched a show of strength with its Shenyang J-15 Flying Shark fighters and its only aircraft carrier, Liaoning.
It is the first time the carrier has conducted drills in the South China Sea with a formation of other ships - a move that will be of concern to its neighbours.
The Defence Ministry confirmed the exercise late on Monday, days after Taiwan's Defence Ministry said Liaoning and five other warships had passed south of Taiwan. The country deployed fighter jets to monitor the fleet.
China says the drills are part of a routine open-sea exercise, but they are bound to fuel tensions in Taipei.
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen has refused to endorse the mainland's view of Taiwan as part of China. Beijing claims the self-governing island as its own territory and says failing to endorse the one-China principle will destabilise relations.
China is building its second aircraft carrier.