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China's aircraft carrier sailed near Guam, accessed Taiwan Strait

By Elizabeth Shim
China's aircraft carrier sailed near Guam, accessed Taiwan Strait
The Liaoning, the first aircraft carrier commissioned into China's military, recently conducted exercises in the South China Sea. File Photo by Jerome Favre/EPA

June 25 (UPI) -- China deployed an aircraft carrier to an area of the Pacific Ocean near the U.S. territory of Guam this month, according to Taiwanese press reports.

China Times and Liberty Times reported Tuesday the People's Liberation Army Navy's aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, for the first time navigated toward an area near the island of Guam, home to Andersen Air Force Base.

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Beijing's Type 001 aircraft carrier and a Chinese fleet that included the Shijiazhuang, a Type 051C or Luzhou-class destroyer, the Xining, a Type 052D guided missile destroyer, and the Daqing, a Type 054A multi-role frigate, reportedly sailed near the U.S. territory.

Other ships in the fleet included the Rizhao and the Hulunhu, a comprehensive supply ship, according to reports.

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The purpose of China's aircraft carrier deployment could be to check the United States, currently engaged in joint training exercises with partners in the South China Sea and the East China Sea.

The Liaoning conducted exercises after leaving the area near Guam, and after entering the South China Sea, using a route that travels south of the Philippines.

More recently, the Liaoning reportedly entered the Taiwan Strait from the south on Tuesday after leaving from Sanya Port in Hainan Province, China.

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Taiwan's defense ministry said it is monitoring the situation and requested citizens "to not worry," reports stated.

The Liaoning deployment is taking place at a time when China is renewing efforts to build up forces in the South China Sea.

CNN recently reported China has deployed at least four J-10 fighter jets to Woody Island in the South China Sea.

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The deployment is the first of its kind since 2017.

The jets were seen in satellite images provided by ImageSat International, an Israeli firm.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to meet U.S. President Donald Trump in Japan at the G-20 summit this week.

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