Liaoning aircraft carrier, 40 war ships, submarines
China conducting large-scale naval exercises in South China Sea
INDEPENDENT Dozens of naval vessels and an aircraft carrier entered the vital trade waterway off Hainan island as part of what the Chinese navy had described as combat drills which were part of routine annual exercises.
The images, provided to the Reuters press agency by Earth imaging company Planet Labs Inc, show what appear to be at least 40 ships and submarines flanking the carrier, Liaoning.
It was described by some analysts as an unusually large display of the Chinese military’s increasing naval might.
The flotilla sailed in a line formation more suited to visual propaganda than hard military manoeuvres.
It was headed by what appeared to be submarines and supported by aircraft above.
The carrier group traversed the Taiwan Strait last week, according to Taiwan’s defence ministry.
The flotilla’s destination was unclear and the length of its operation unknown.
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