Aircraft carrier Liaoning to join celebration of HK's handover anniversary
A fleet of Chinese warships led by China's first aircraft carrier Liaoning will head to Hong Kong to join the celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the region’s return to the motherland, spokesperson for China’s Ministry of National Defense Wu Qian has announced.
"A flotilla including the aircraft carrier Liaoning will visit the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army being stationed in Hong Kong. The visit will be part of the carrier's trans-regional training and specific arrangements will be released as appropriate," said Qian.
The year 2017 marks two decades after the return of Hong Kong to China and also 20 years since the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) started carrying out duties in the region, Wu said in a press conference on Thursday, noting that it is an eventful moment to celebrate.
The fleet is now on a routine training mission, having set out from the eastern Chinese port city of Qingdao on Sunday, and will soon join the celebratory activities in Hong Kong.
The detailed schedule of the fleet has not been publicized.
Liaoning is a refurbished aircraft carrier built from the hull of a Soviet Union ship bought from Ukraine.
As the first aircraft carrier commissioned into the PLA's Navy Surface Force, Liaoning is being used by the Navy as a training ship to practice with carrier usage. Last December, it was deployed for the first time in distant sea waters for exercises and completed a passage through the Taiwan Strait in January.