Chinese flattop sails between Okinawa main island and Miyakojima

The Chinese Navy’s Liaoning aircraft carrier and four other warships from the country passed through waters between the main island of Okinawa Prefecture and the island of Miyakojima, around midnight Friday, Japan’s Defense Ministry said Sunday.

The five vessels sailed north, from the Pacific Ocean to the East China Sea, through the waters, according to the ministry. They are believed to be returning to China after ending a series of exercises.

The Liaoning-led fleet sailed south in the waters between the Okinawa main island and Miyakojima on Dec. 16.

Over two days from Dec. 19, fighter jets and a helicopter repeatedly practiced landing on and taking off from the Liaoning in the high seas near the Okinawa islands of Kitadaitojima and Okidaitojima. Japanese ships including the Izumo destroyer of the Maritime Self-Defense Force were sent on a surveillance mission.

This was the first time since April for the Liaoning to sail back and forth in the waters between the main island of Okinawa and Miyakojima.

The Japanese ministry is on high alert because China is believed to be trying to beef up its military’s operational capabilities.

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