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China conducts first live-fire drills with aircraft carrier in Bohai Sea

BEIJING: China's military has carried out its first live-fire drills using an aircraft carrier and fighters in the north-eastern Bohai Sea close to Korea, state media said.

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 of regular air and naval patrols to ensure freedom of navigation.

Ten vessels and 10 aircraft engaged in air-to-air, air-to-sea and sea-to-air combat drills that featured guided missiles, state broadcaster Chinese Central Television reported late on Thursday.

It said: "This is the first time an aircraft carrier squadron has performed drills with live ammunition and real troops."

China's Soviet-built Liaoning aircraft carrier and a formation of warships carried out aerial interception, anti-aircraft and anti-missile drills, in which Shenyang J-15 fighter jets carrying live missiles also participated, CCTV said.

The drills aimed to test the equipment and troop training levels, an unidentified navy official told the official China News Service. 
- REUTERS

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