Is Beijing preparing for WAR in South China Sea? Nation holds its first ever live-fire drills with its aircraft carrier amid tensions over military base on artificial islands

Friday, December 16, 2016
By Paul Martin

Up to 10 ships and 10 jets engaged in combat training in Bohai Sea close to Korea
Missiles blasted from China’s Soviet-built aircraft carrier during live-fire drills
Comes amid tensions with US over military base on islands in South China Sea

16 December 2016

Beijing has staged its first ever live-fire drills using an aircraft carrier and fighter jets amid tensions over a military base on artificial islands in the South China Sea.

Up to 10 vessels and 10 aircraft engaged in combat training and fired guided missiles in the northeastern Bohai Sea close to Korea.

China’s growing military presence in the disputed South China Sea has fuelled concern, with the US criticising its militarisation of maritime outposts and holding regular air and naval patrols to ensure freedom of navigation.

No other country has claims in China’s busy waterway of the Bohai Sea, but the drills come amid new tension over self-ruled Taiwan, following US President-elect Donald Trump’s recent telephone call with the island’s president that upset Beijing.

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