China deploys Shandong carrier strike group in Western Pacific

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On July 9, Japan’s Defense Ministry confirmed that China has moved its Shandong aircraft carrier strike group into the Western Pacific.

The carrier, escorted by some of China’s most advanced warships, was located approximately 500 kilometers southeast of Okinawa, Japan.

This marks the first transit east of Taiwan for the Shandong strike group in 2024.

According to the U.S. Naval Institute, the last deployment of the Shandong to the Philippine Sea occurred in October and November of the previous year. This deployment coincides with a joint patrol by the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and the Russian Navy, which is currently operating in the Philippine Sea. Additionally, Russia dispatched two corvettes on Monday for an Indo-Pacific deployment.

On Tuesday, the Shandong (CNS Shandong, hull number 17), along with the cruiser CNS Yan’an (106), destroyer CNS Guilin (164), and frigate CNS Yuncheng (571), was sighted sailing 323 miles southeast of Miyako Island.


Japan’s Joint Staff Office (JSO) reported the sighting and confirmed that the Shandong was conducting flight operations with its fighter aircraft and helicopters.

Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyer JS Akebono (DD-108) monitored the movements of the Shandong. In response to the carrier’s fighter launches, Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) fighter aircraft were scrambled.

The Shandong’s presence in the Western Pacific follows its previous activity in late June when it sailed within 230 miles of Luzon before returning to the waters near Hainan Island. There, it conducted drills with other PLAN ships in the South China Sea.

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