Aircraft based on the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning conducted a total of about 260 takeoff and landing drills this month while the vessel sailed in waters near Okinawa Prefecture and elsewhere, the Defense Ministry announced Wednesday.
Air Self-Defense Force fighter aircraft were scrambled in response to these drills, and the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s helicopter-carrying destroyer Koizumi and other vessels monitored the carrier.
According to the ministry, a fleet including the Liaoning sailed through Pacific Ocean waters near the remote Okinawa Prefecture islands of Okidaitojima and Kitadaitojima from Dec. 17 to Tuesday. During the same period, the Chinese ships also sailed near Okinotorishima, Japan’s southernmost point of land, which is administratively part of Tokyo.
The carrier’s fighter aircraft and helicopters repeatedly practiced taking off and landing during this period. The fleet was also confirmed to have sailed as far south as waters west of the U.S. territory of Guam.
Aircraft on the Liaoning also conducted at least 300 takeoff and landing drills while the carrier was in the Pacific Ocean near Okinawa Prefecture in May.