China shows off massive naval fleet in South China Sea
Satellite images revealed over 40 naval vessels exercising drills in a large show of military might in the South China Sea.
SOUTH CHINA SEA — Dozens of naval vessels were spotted doing drills in disputed waters, in what experts believe is China showing off its growing military might.
Reuters reports that satellite images taken by Planet Labs Inc. on Monday revealed that the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning entered a vital trade waterway in the South China Sea, just off Hainan Island.
At least 40 ships and submarines were seen flanking the aircraft carrier — an unusually large show of force, according to experts.
The massive Chinese fleet was sailing in a line formation headed by the submarines, and accompanied by several aircrafts flying overhead.
It's unclear though where the fleet was headed or how long the naval exercises are set to last.
Analysts say China may be displaying inter-fleet interoperability, which the navy has been working on. It's also possible they're flexing their muscles in response to a freedom-of-navigation patrol by a U.S. warship last week.
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