Two Chinese warships have ventured into the Western Pacific for live-fire exercises, the military said on Tuesday, shortly after one of China’s two aircraft carriers returned from a patrol, in its latest projection of force into more distant waters.

The destroyer Dalian and guided-missile frigate Huangshan sailed to an unidentified area of the West Pacific “not long ago” and conducted attack and defence drills, the Southern Theatre Command of the People’s Liberation Army said in a statement.

“The joint training in unfamiliar and complex waters is of great significance in exploring the boundaries of new equipment effectiveness, testing the practical application of new warfare method,” the command said, citing a training officer.