‘PREPARING FOR WAR’ China sends massive navy for South China Sea war games after President Xi Jinping vowed to wage ‘bloody battle’ for world domination

Wednesday, March 28, 2018
By Paul Martin

The photos, taken yesterday, show what appear to be at least 40 ships and submarines flanking the aircraft carrier Liaoning

By Guy Birchall
27th March 2018

DOZENS of Chinese ships are exercising this week with an aircraft carrier in a show of force off Hainan Island in the South China Sea.

Pictures, provided by Planet Labs Inc, show a Chinese carrier group has entered the trade route as part of combat drills.

The Chinese navy claims the movements are part of routine annual exercises, according to Reuters.

The Liaoning carrier group last week traversed the Taiwan Strait, according to the Taiwanese defence ministry.

The photos, taken yesterday, show what appear to be at least 40 ships and submarines flanking the carrier Liaoning in what some analysts described as an unusually large display of the China’s expanding fleet.

They have emerged less than a week after Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country is prepared to fight bloody battles to retain its right as a superpower.

Sailing in a line formation more suited to visual propaganda than military manoeuvres, the flotilla was headed by what appeared to be submarines, with aircraft soaring overhead.

Security expert at the California-based based Middlebury Institute of Strategic Studies, Jeffrey Lewis, said the images showed the first confirmation that the carrier was joining the drills.

He said: “That’s the big news to me. Confirmation that, yes, the carrier participated in the exercise.”

While the Liaoning has previously entered the South China Sea as part of drills in uncontested training grounds south of Hainan, its annual exercises are closely watched by regional and international powers eyeing Beijing’s growing military might.

It is unclear where the flotilla was headed, or how long operations will last.

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