BEIJING – China's sole aircraft carrier has returned home following a three-week cruise during which its combat capabilities were closely scrutinized.
The Defense Ministry says the 60,000-ton Liaoning sailed in to the eastern port of Qingdao on Friday along with its battle group.
The ministry quoted its commander, Rear Adm. Chen Yueqi, as saying the drill simulated real combat as closely as possible and achieved all targets set for it. China commissioned the carrier in 2012 and declared it combat ready in November.
Originally described as a test platform, the carrier is considerably smaller than the 100.000-ton U.S. Nimitz-class carriers.
The training cruise that began on Christmas Day took it home through the Taiwan Strait in what was seen by many as a threatening message to the island's independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen.