Beijing's new aircraft carrier, The Shandong, is 'battle ready' after ...

South China Sea: China to deploy large assault ship

The Shandong is the PLA Navy’s second aircraft carrier after the Liaoning which is currently operating elsewhere in the South China Sea. According to Gao Xiucheng, a spokesman for the Chinese navy, the latest exercise involved communications, manoeuvres, coordination and field training.

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Mr Gao said on May 2 that the exercises were “legitimate and can enhance Chinese capabilities to protect national sovereignty, security, and development interest."

He added: “We hope the outside world can view [the Shandong’s exercise] objectively and rationally.

“The PLA Navy will continue to organize similar exercises according to the plan regularly in the future.”

The vessel was commissioned in December 2019 by Chinese president Xi Jinping and got operational clearance in October last year.

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South China Sea: Shandong completes drillSouth China Sea: Shandong completes military drill (Image: Getty Images)

South China Sea: Liaoning carrier groupSouth China Sea: The Shandong is Chinas second aircraft carrier (Image: Getty Images)

The PLA ship is capable of carrying a fleet of Shenyang J-15 warplanes equipped with more weapons and fuel than the F/A-18 Super Hornets used on US Navy aircraft carriers.

The Shandong’s military drills come as tensions between Beijing and Washington escalate over South China Sea issues.

Last month, the US Navy released a photo taken from the deck of the USS Mustin showing Naval officers watching over the

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