Japan spots aircraft taking off, landing on Chinese carrier

Japan's Defense Ministry says aircraft have been observed taking off from and landing on a Chinese aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean near Okinawa Prefecture, southern Japan.

This is the second time ministry officials have spotted the Shandong aircraft carrier navigating in the Pacific.

Officials say six Chinese vessels, including the Shandong, were seen in the Pacific, some 650 kilometers south of Okinawa's Miyakojima island.

They also observed fighter jets and helicopters taking off from and landing on the carrier on Wednesday.

They say the aircraft did not enter Japanese airspace, nor has Japan scrambled Air Self-Defense Force fighter jets in response.

The Shandong is China's first domestically built aircraft carrier and has been in service since December 2019.
It was confirmed to have navigated in the Pacific for the first time this April.

The transit comes as Taiwan's defense ministry on Wednesday announced that Chinese fighter jets conducted joint sea and air training with the Shandong on Wednesday.

The ministry says China is trying to improve the carrier's operational capabilities. Japanese defense officials are watching the situation closely.