Chinese navy carries out live-fire drills with more than 40 warships in the South China Sea as three US aircraft carrier battle groups prepare for their own exercises

Friday, April 6, 2018
By Paul Martin

Chinese exercise is taking place in a disputed area of the South China Sea
The live-fire drills involve its Soviet-ear aircraft carrier Liaoning for the first time
US Navy will have three aircraft carrier groups in the region as trade war hots up

6 April 2018

The Chinese navy has launched a navy drill in the South China Sea involving 40 ships to put on a show of strength as three U.S carrier battle groups pass by.

According to its state media, are centred on the aircraft carrier Liaoning, with warships combining from the North, East and South Sea fleets.

The exercises for the first time also involve its only aircraft carrier, the refurbished Soviet era vessel Liaoning, taking part in live-fire drills.

They take place in seas that are the source of a dispute between China and several countries.

A large part of South China Sea has been declared sovereign territory by Beijing under the so-called ‘Nine Dash Line’ which extends some 1240 miles from its mainland.

Meanwhile the United States has also sent three aircraft carrier battle groups to the Asia-Pacific region.

The USS Theodore Roosevelt flotilla arrived in Singapore on Monday for a regular port call after a deployment in the Middle East.

It has been reported it will conduct drills with two US 7th Fleet carrier groups, centred on the USS Ronald Reagan and USS Carl Vinson, as they pass through the disputed waterways.

The military manoeuvres are being held as an Asian economic forum gets underway on the Chinese island of Hainan, which borders the disputed South China Sea.

Li Jie, an expert on the Chinese navy, said it was the first time the Liaoning had taken part in live-fire drills.

‘This will test the Liaoning’s real combat strength as well as joint-operations skills between the aircraft carrier and warships from other fleets,’ Beijing-based Li told the South China Morning Post.

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