US warship overshadows Chinese aircraft carrier on return trip

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A US warship found itself in the middle of a Chinese Navy flotilla on Monday as it followed the carrier-led group Liaoning outside the South China Sea and the Western Pacific.

Captured satellite images Liaoning and five People’s Liberation Army escort ships sailing the Philippine Sea, with a notable US Navy ship, possibly an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, following close behind.

PLA Navy’s first aircraft carrier on return voyage to East China Sea after month-long deployment to the South China Sea, where it conducted exercises in preparation for US and Japanese naval assets .

Although it is common for navies from different countries to observe each other at sea, it was highly unusual for the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer to navigate in Liaoningunhindered flotilla, said Su Tzu-yun, a Taipei-based defense analyst.

Su, a member of the Taiwanese government-backed National Defense and Security Research Institute (INDSR), said the PLA may have tried to send a political message by authorizing the warship. of the US Navy in training.

“The Chinese military was trying to reduce the threat from the US ship by letting it observe its operations closely,” Su added. “He wants to give an impression of transparency to the image of the US Navy.

# 海上 自衛隊 ??# 遼寧」を 含 む 艦艇 6 隻 が 沖 縄 本 島 と 宮 古 島 の 間 の 海域 を 北上 し 、 東 シ ナ 海 へ 向 け て し た こ と を を 確認 し ま し た。 海 海 海 海 海 海 海 海 # 警戒 監視 活動 ?? pic.twitter.com/ZabF59FulV

– 防衛 省 統 合 幕僚 監 部 (@jointstaffpa) April 27, 2021

On Tuesday, the Japanese Defense Ministry said the six ships of the Liaoning task force had sailed through the Miyako Strait between the Japanese islands of Miyako and Okinawa.

The same complement of Chinese warships, including the Renhai Type 055-class destroyer Nanchang, two Luyang II-class destroyers, a Jiangkai II-class frigate and a Fuyu-class supply ship-made the trip in the opposite direction on April 3 before announcing combat exercises near Taiwan.

On its return to the East China Sea, the carrier launched a Z-18 airborne early warning helicopter and flew it within 30 miles of the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands, according to the state report. – Joint Staff of the Japanese Ministry of Defense.

The Senkaku are also claimed by the Chinese government, which calls them the Diaoyu Islands. Chinese and Japanese coastguard ships have had several skirmishes around uninhabited islets this year, especially over Tokyo since Beijing introduced its new coastguard law.

Communist Party newspaper on World time say it Liaoning carrier group had patrolled the Senkakus as a “warning to Japan” following repeated “false claims” on the disputed islands.

The public tabloid predicted that similar PLA operations “would become routine depending on Sino-Japanese relations.”

It was no accident that the Chinese aircraft carrier detoured through the Western Pacific to reach the East China Sea instead of passing through the Taiwan Strait, INDSR analyst Su said.

“If the carrier strike group had used the Taiwan Strait, China would have lost its ability to signal its power projection capabilities in China’s First Island,” he said. News week.

Su’s analysis puts Liaoning as part of China’s Green Waters Navy, which describes a maritime force operating in the coastal areas of a country.

Liaoning is not a blue water navy ship as it still needs land-based air support, “he said, adding:” But when China’s third aircraft carrier is launched, it will be a true navy vessel in blue waters capable of carrying its own aircraft airborne early warning system. “

A flotilla of Chinese Navy ships led by the Liaoning aircraft carrier in the East China Sea.
AFP via Getty Images

Correction 4/29/21, 12:30 p.m. ET: This article has been updated to correct the designation of Luyang II class destroyers.



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