China's lone aircraft carrier is prowling the Pacific as the country seeks to assert its military might and build up its naval warfare capabilities.
The Liaoning carrier's J-15 fighter jets practiced air confrontations and air refueling in the Yellow Sea late last week before the ship and its flotilla of escorting frigates and destroyers headed into the open Pacific beyond Taiwan and Okinawa.
On Monday it headed to the South China Sea -- the site of regional tensions caused by China building fortifications on disputed islands.
It's a move that hasn't gone unnoticed by China's Asian neighbors.
Taiwan sounded a note of alarm, with its defense minister emphasizing the need for vigilance.
China's state-run Global Times media agency published an editorial on Christmas Day, timed to coincide with the aircraft carrier Liaoning's maneuvers.
The piece called on China to build up its fleet of aircraft carriers, make them combat ready, sail them to Eastern Pacific and look to set up naval supply bases in South America.
The Global Times also said the drill is a sign the Liaoning's combat capability has been enhanced and its areas of operation expanded, and could soon include the Eastern Pacific, including off the US West Coast.