China deploys fighter jets in drills near North Korea

April 20 (UPI) — China continues to conduct training exercises near the Korean peninsula, according to state media.

Chinese state news service People’s Daily Online reported Thursday the Nanchang Q-5, a Chinese-built ground-attack aircraft, practiced hitting simulated targets in Bohai Bay.

Two Q-5 jets took part in the drills.

The drill follows the deployment of Beijing’s Aegis-class destroyer the Xining to the Yellow Sea, according to state news network CCTV.

The Xining was commissioned in January and according to China’s defense ministry, it is a “homegrown guided-missile destroyer integrated with many new types of weaponry.”

The destroyer also has advanced stealth capability and electromagnetic compatibility, according to Beijing.

Chinese state television showed footage over the weekend of the Xining conducting a live-fire operation and deploying weapons to hit sea and air targets.

The exercises follow a naval training drill in the Yellow Sea, when China deployed the Liaoning, China’s only known aircraft carrier.

The Liaoning and its accompanying fleet had completed training exercises in the South China Sea in January.

China is expected to commission more aircraft carriers.

By 2025, China is to finish building two nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and retain a total of six carriers in its fleet, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

A source in Beijing who spoke anonymously to Yonhap said the drill may have been publicized as a warning to North Korea and to the United States and South Korea, as tensions mount on the peninsula and the USS Carl Vinson strike carrier group plans to arrive in the region next week.


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