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Dispatched Planes To Monitor Chinese Aircraft Carrier Operations: Japan

Japan kept a close eye on the operations after the Chinese naval group sailed between the main Okinawa island and Miyakojima island, which included missile destroyers

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Japan said on Monday that it had scrambled jet fighters and sent aircraft and warships to keep an eye on China's Liaoning aircraft carrier and five warships conducting naval manoeuvres and flight operations in the Pacific over the previous two weeks.

The Chinese naval group, which included missile destroyers, sailed between the main Okinawa island and Miyakojima island into the Western Pacific from the East China Sea on 16 December, according to a press release from Japan's Ministry of Defense.

The Chinese carrier conducted more than 300 take-offs and landings of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters before returning the same way on Sunday, according to the ministry, which did not report any incursions into Japanese territorial waters or skies.

While China has previously conducted similar operations, including one in May, the latest large-scale military drills near Japanese islands come after Japan announced it would double defence spending over the next five years in an effort to deter China from using its military to push territorial claims in the region, including against neighbouring Taiwan.

Japan also reported that it had detected flights by a Chinese WZ-7 drone near Miyakojima on Sunday and again on Monday, the first time the high-altitude drone had been spotted in the area.

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china japan Japan Air Self-Defence Force