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International relations

China's aircraft carrier is a tool of gunboat diplomacy

The Liaoning bears watching, but is not a Pacific game changer -- yet

TOKYO -- China has been flexing its naval muscle recently, sending its sole aircraft carrier on a long training mission in Asia's choppy waters.

The Liaoning entered the western Pacific via the East China Sea for the first time at the end of last year. The aircraft carrier then changed course, sailing off the east coast of Taiwan and entering the South China Sea, where it conducted takeoff and landing drills.

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