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Chinese navy steps up aircraft carrier operations 

All Saturday papers reported on an announcement made by the Defense Ministry on Friday that several PLA fighter jets apparently took off from China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, in waters some 350 km south of Japan’s westernmost island of Yonaguni earlier in the day. This was reportedly the first time that airplanes were detected taking off from the Liaoning in the Pacific. In follow-up reports, all Sunday papers said the Chinese carrier transited the strait between the main island of Okinawa and Miyako Island from the Pacific into the East China Sea on Saturday.

 

Sunday’s Yomiuri separately took up an announcement by China’s maritime authorities regarding a complete ban on maritime operations in the northern part of the Yellow Sea, speculating that the nine-day ban that began on Saturday was a step taken in advance of sea trials for China’s new indigenous aircraft carrier now undergoing preparations in Dalian for its commissioning.  

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