China to dispatch 2 aircraft carriers near Taiwan sooner

According to the local military sources, PLA Navy will send the Liaoning and the Shandong aircraft carrier, with escort ships from three major fleets into a dual carrier strike group to conduct a large-scale military exercise around Taiwan and in the South China Sea this summer. Now PLA Navy officials are working on this large-scale exercise.

China’s aircraft carriers, the Liaoning and Shandong, are being deployed for the first time last month in Bohai Bay in the Yellow Sea to conduct combat readiness drills.

On May 12, Kyodo News reported that the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA’s) Southern Theater Command is planning a simulated invasion of the Dongsha islands with Hainan island as its practice field. The mock invasion will reportedly take place in August and include a large number of marines, landing ships, hovercraft, and helicopters. The new information from local sources supports the previously reported news.

China’s first home-built aircraft carrier called the Shandong formally entered service on December 17, 2019. Commissioned by President Xi Jinping, the new warship represents a major milestone in the country’s efforts to build up its naval power. It is China’s second aircraft carrier after the Liaoning, which is a refitted vessel purchased from Ukraine.

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PLA Navy’s Liaoning Aircraft Carrier

China considers self-governing Taiwan part of its territory, to be reunited with the mainland by force if necessary.

The U.S. Navy is increasing its presence in the area as well. For the first time since 2017, the U.S. Navy has positioned three of its aircraft carriers on the doorstep of the disputed South China Sea, as tensions between Washington and Beijing continue to soar. There are there carrier strike groups of US Navy is deployed in the  U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility.

USS Nimitz (CVN 68)

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)

USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71)

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US Navy aircraft carriers USS Ronald Reagan, USS Theodore Roosevelt, and USS Nimitz and their strike groups in the Western Pacific with ships from the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force. (Photo: US Navy)