China said Thursday it would conduct naval training drills in the western Pacific later this month, state media reported, amid lingering fears among Beijing’s neighbours about its military ambitions.
The exercises will take place in international waters and are “not targeted at any specific country“, the defence ministry said in a statement carried by the official Xinhua news agency.
The ministry did not offer further information about the location of what it called a “regular” drill, nor did it say which ships would participate.
Military observers are keenly awaiting the launch of the country’s first aircraft carrier, which is currently based in the northeast port city of Dalian.
Earlier this week, a top official in China’s People’s Liberation Army gave the first confirmation of the existence of the carrier, in an exclusive interview with the Hong Kong Commercial Daily.
Chen Bingde, chief of the General Staff of the PLA, said the 300-metre (990-foot) refurbished Soviet carrier “is being built, but it has not been completed“, without elaborating.
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