China has again sent its Liaoning aircraft carrier through the Miyako Strait — a key strategic gateway into the Pacific for Beijing that separates Okinawa’s main island from Miyako Island.

The Defense Ministry said late Friday that the Maritime Self-Defense Forces had initially detected the carrier about 350 kilometers southwest of Nagasaki Prefecture’s Danjo Islands on Wednesday and tracked the vessel, as well as an accompanying flotilla of three other ships, sailing southward through the 150-nautical-mile-wide strait into the Western Pacific Ocean on Thursday.

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