- Satellite images show China has built a mock-up of a US Navy aircraft carrier and destroyer in its northwestern desert, possibly for future naval conflict exercises as tensions between the nations rise.
- China has extensively upgraded its military in recent years, and its capabilities and intentions are closely related to those of the United States.
- Photos taken Sunday by Colorado-based satellite imagery company Maxar Technologies show an outline of a US aircraft carrier and at least one destroyer sitting on a railway track.
Satellite images show China has built a mock-up of a US Navy aircraft carrier and destroyer in its northwestern desert, possibly for future naval conflict exercises as tensions between the nations rise.
China has extensively upgraded its military in recent years, and its capabilities and intentions are related to those of the United States as tensions rise over military supremacy in the South China Sea, Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific.
Photos taken Sunday by Colorado-based satellite imagery company Maxar Technologies show an outline of a US aircraft carrier and at least one destroyer sitting on a railway track.
Maxar identified the location as Ruoqiang, a Taklamakan Desert County in the northwestern Xinjiang region.
The independent US Naval Institute said on its website that the mock-up of the US ships was part of a new target range developed by the People’s Liberation Army.
It was not clear from the images how many details were included in the apparent targets, although the USNI said it had identified features on the destroyer, including its funnels and weapons systems.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a daily briefing on Monday that he had no knowledge of the images, adding, “I am not aware of the situation you described.”
China’s massive military upgrades have placed an emphasis on countering the naval forces of the US and other countries.
This included the development of land, sea and air-launched missiles to repel and possibly sink opposing ships, followed by the land-based DF-21D ballistic missile known as the “carrier killer”.
Recent months have also seen a considerable increase in Chinese military flights southwest of Taiwan, the self-governing island republic claimed by Beijing and which threatens to be annexed by force. Washington provides most of its weapons to Taiwan and is required by US law to ensure the island can defend itself and treats threats to it as matters of “grave concern”.
The photos released by Maxar come amid growing concerns over the prospect of a military conflict between the world’s two largest economies, which are in a litany of political and economic issues.
The Pentagon released a report this month saying China was expanding its nuclear force much faster than US officials predicted a year ago. It appears to be designed to enable Beijing to match or surpass US global power by mid-century, the report said.
US defense officials have said they are largely wary of China’s intentions regarding the situation in Taiwan.
“The developed capabilities and concepts of the PLA continue to strengthen (China’s) ability to ‘fight and win the war’ against a ‘strong enemy’ – a potential euphemism for the United States,” the report said. stated in.
China’s navy and coast guard are also adding new ships at a record pace, concentrating them in the South China Sea, the strategic waterway that China claims fully.
While the US Navy remains dominant, its resources are divided into the Indo-Pacific, the Persian Gulf, the Mediterranean, and other regions where US interests lie.
China’s test of a hypersonic weapon capable of partially orbiting Earth before re-entering the atmosphere and gliding on a maneuverable path to its target surprised even top US military leaders. Beijing insists it is testing a reusable spacecraft, not a missile, but that the weapon system is designed to evade US missile defense.
General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the test was “very close” to having a “Sputnik moment”, similar to the 1957 launch of the world’s first space satellite by the Soviet Union, which terrified the United Nations. Technically the states were lagging behind.