China's second aircraft carrier sailed through the Taiwan Straits on November 17 as part of its routine sea trial, according to the People's Liberation Army Navy.
Senior captain Cheng Dewei, spokesman for the PLA Navy, was quoted on November 18 as saying the carrier, which has yet to be commissioned and named, headed for the South China Sea to carry out sea trial that included equipment tests and personnel training.
He said the operation was a normal arrangement during the ship's construction and testing processes, noting it was not aimed at any specific target nor related to current situations.
This was the carrier's ninth sea trial since May 2018 when it carried out the maiden sea trial.
Construction of the vessel, the largest and most sophisticated warship in China, began in November 2013 at a shipyard in Liaoning province's Dalian. It was launched – moved into water – in April 2017.
Currently, the Navy operates a sole aircraft carrier, CNS Liaoning, which was originally a Soviet-era vessel and was extensively refitted at the Dalian shipyard. The Liaoning conducted 10 sea trials starting August 2011 before going into service in September 2012.
The new carrier has a displacement of around 50,000 metric tons and a conventional propulsion system. Like the Liaoning, it uses a ramp to launch J-15 fighter jets, the spearhead of Chinese carrier battle group. The ship will also carry several types of helicopters.