(Stars and Stripes) CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A Chinese aircraft carrier sailed between two islands of Japan’s Okinawa prefecture twice in April. , according to Japanese defense officials.

The Chinese carrier Liaoning and its five-ship strike group were spotted at around 9 a.m. Tuesday approximately 50 miles southeast of Miyako, a Japan Ministry of Defense Joint Staff statement said Tuesday. The ships sailed north, passing between Okinawa itself and Miyako at about 10 a.m. before traversing the East China Sea later that day.

JMSDF Kongo (DDG-173)

The Liaoning strike group was spotted by the JS Kongo (DDG-173), a guided-missile destroyer of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, the destroyer JS Umigiri (DD-158) and a P-3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft, the statement said. The Liaoning was accompanied by two Chinese guided-missile destroyers, two multi-role warships and one supply-class fast combat support ship.

It was the second time the strike group had traveled through the 155-mile-wide strait in April and just the fifth time since the Liaoning was commissioned in 2012.

Liaoning was originally laid down in 1985 for the Soviet Navy as the Kuznetsov-class aircraft cruiser Riga, she was launched on 4 December 1988 and renamed Varyag in 1990 as part of a sales program to India. After the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, construction was halted and the ship was put up for sale by Ukraine.  China bought it in 1998 and towed the hulk toThe the Dalian naval shipyard in northeast China. Between then and 2019, when the People’s Liberation Army’s Navy (PLAN) announced that it was ready for combat, it underwent a lot of changes. The PLAN also knocked off a copy (made in China), the Shandong, Communist China’s second aircraft carrier.

“This is the first time the Chinese Navy made round-trip passage through the Miyako Strait,” a spokesman from the Japanese Joint Staff told Stars and Stripes Wednesday. “The coronavirus (Chinese Plague) will not affect our mission. We will keep eyes on them very closely.”

The first Liaoning passage occurred after a coronavirus outbreak sidelined the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in Guam, leaving the U.S. without a carrier on patrol in the western Pacific. Meanwhile, the Navy moved to control an outbreak among the crew of the USS Ronald Reagan in port at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, for scheduled maintenance.

“In addition to its trips through Miyako Strait, Chinese vessels sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel in the South China Sea, deployed maritime militias around the contested Spratly Islands and established new “research stations” on the disputed Fiery Cross and Subi reefs, all in the past six weeks,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement last week.

18 COMMENTS

    • Many in the Worker’s Paradise want a war to show how superior the ‘celestials’ are to the barbarians in the West. And if they really want it, they can have it.

  1. China is going to keep pushing until they are stopped. Under Xi they are truly pushing to become THE global superpower. Japan is likely going to be a key player in the western Pacific as China ramps up their game. The Japanese have a long and illustrious history of high order naval capabilities. The question being can they and will they expand their navy to keep up with the coming demands. The ugly reality is that the CCP under Xi has declared a long term multi decade war against the US and the west that encompasses ALL aspects of warfare but specifically asymmetric and economic warfare. However they are not leaving military options off the list of possibilities. Sadly 99% of Americans don’t realize that we are at war with China and most won’t grasp this reality till it becomes truly ugly.

    • The trade war with China is one that we were winning before the arrival of the Chinese Plague. It remains to be seen how that moves forward.

      The espionage war is one that China is winning and we need to cancel Chinese student visas. Let them go to Russia or someplace else. We also need to prosecute traitors vigorously. The left wing courts will call it “racist” irrespective of the race of the traitor if they’re spying for China.

      They CCP will push for a shooting war so that they can be victorious. That remains to be seen as well.

      • China was winning the economic war against the US until Trump came alone. Once he leaves office I suspect they will regain the upper hand. Trump’s successes in international trade and business since winning the White House are almost beyond the capacity for many to grasp.

        • I can only hope that China has been unmasked and that people understand that there is a threat. Of course, the donkeys will take money to sell out the country in the same pattern that we’ve seen in the past. There is almost not depth to which many of these people will not sink. President Trump will hopefully be re-elected and will have four more years to appoint one or two more people to the Supreme Court and will be able to fill the judicial roster with able patriots. But your point is still well taken.

  2. You;d almost think they were trying to cut Okinawa off from Japan.
    No way it would work.
    Yet.

    • They are exercising freedom of navigation and are rattling sabers. They have a lot of penetration agents, agents of influence, etc. on the ground in Okinawa, agitating for complete freedom from Japan and US occupation. The Chinese have thrown a LOT of grease around on Okinawa and would like to be invited in to “save the people of Okinawa” and land their jets at Kadina.

  3. I suspect that the PRC will regret waking Japan up.
    Hell, I suspect they already do, but it’s too late to change course.

    -Kle.

    • The PRC views the Japanese as racial inferiors. (The Japanese view the Chinese and Koreans as “garlic eaters”) As such, the celestials who run the People’s Liberation Army’s Navy don’t worry about the Japanese or the American barbarians at the moment. They’re sure that the Chinese navy will sweep the seas.

      And I’m not writing that tongue in cheek. That’s precisely what most of them think.

      • You would almost think it might be in their best interests to remember the period of 1894 – 1942….

        They must believe their own propaganda.
        -Kle.

  4. As an FYI for readers the USNS Cesar Chavez (T-AKE-14) and the USS Montgomery (LCS 8) are currently in the South China Sea, keeping an eye on Chinese bullying in the region of Fiery Reef (claimed by Malaysia and China). The LCS has very short legs and needs the tanker/replenishment ship close by. LCS armament is scant and it may be bait to see if the Chinese do something.

    • We work very closely with the JMSDF and the Ronnie Reagan (CV) is being repaired in Japan at the moment. They will be flying the F-35’s from their flight decks. They are very good. I’ve worked with them and have only good experiences – and they really hate the Chinese.

    • The LCS is good for little else – bait – bullet sponge – radar reflector to spare a valuable ship. But I will suggest that there are also US submarines lurking in the area.

  5. Mr Larry, with the curved up bow on the Chinese carrier I take it doesn’t have a conventional catapult like Western navies do? Are the Chinese warbirds a type of STOL aircraft? I was Army, I stayed as far away of boats as I could.

    • As I understand it, the Chinese are working on an electric (as opposed to steam) catapult for their carriers. They currently fly the Shenyang- J-15 aircraft that utilize the ski jump for take-offs and arresting gear to land. If you are going to ask how well it works — they are having growing pains. They have ambitious plans for naval aviation one-day in the future. Today, there are lots of accidents and the tempo necessary for genuine combat operations isn’t there.

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