AN AERIAL VIEW of what Philippine Coast Guard alleges were Chinese vessels, manned by Chinese maritime militia, loitering within the vicinity of Thitu Island, one of nine features occupied by the Philippines in Spratly Islands, in the disputed South China Sea, March 9, 2023. — REUTERS

TOKYO — The Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong and other naval ships sailed to the South China Sea after conducting landing drills in the Pacific Ocean for nine days, Japan’s defense ministry said on Monday.

Between Oct. 28 and Nov. 5, the Shandong carried out around 420 jet fighter landings and 150 helicopter landings in the Pacific, south of Japan’s Miyako islands and east of the Philippines, the ministry announced.

Taiwan’s military said late last month that its forces would keep monitoring the Chinese naval formation in the Pacific led by Shandong. — Reuters