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World: Satellite images show China built mock-ups of US warships

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BEIJING (AP) — Satellite images show China has built mock-ups of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier and destroyer in its northwestern desert, possibly as practice for a future naval clash as tensions rise between the nations.

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows a building on rail tracks in Ruoqiang county, China, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. Satellite images appear to show China has built mock-ups of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and destroyers in its northwestern desert, such as one at center in this image, possibly as practice for a future naval clash as tensions rise between the nations. (Maxar Technologies via AP) © Provided by Associated Press This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows a building on rail tracks in Ruoqiang county, China, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. Satellite images appear to show China has built mock-ups of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and destroyers in its northwestern desert, such as one at center in this image, possibly as practice for a future naval clash as tensions rise between the nations. (Maxar Technologies via AP) This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows rail terminal and target storage building in Ruoqiang county, China, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. Satellite images appear to show China has built mock-ups of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and destroyers in its northwestern desert, such as one shown at bottom left in this image, possibly as practice for a future naval clash as tensions rise between the nations. (Maxar Technologies via AP) © Provided by Associated Press This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows rail terminal and target storage building in Ruoqiang county, China, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. Satellite images appear to show China has built mock-ups of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and destroyers in its northwestern desert, such as one shown at bottom left in this image, possibly as practice for a future naval clash as tensions rise between the nations. (Maxar Technologies via AP)

China has upgraded its military massively in recent years, and its capability and intentions are increasingly concerning to the United States as tensions rise over the South China Sea, Taiwan and military supremacy in the Indo-Pacific.

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This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows a designated area in Ruoqiang county, China, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. Satellite images appear to show China has built mock-ups of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and destroyers in its northwestern desert, such as one in this image, possibly as practice for a future naval clash as tensions rise between the nations. (Maxar Technologies via AP) © Provided by Associated Press This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows a designated area in Ruoqiang county, China, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. Satellite images appear to show China has built mock-ups of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and destroyers in its northwestern desert, such as one in this image, possibly as practice for a future naval clash as tensions rise between the nations. (Maxar Technologies via AP)

The images captured by Colorado-based satellite imagery company Maxar Technologies dated Sunday show the outlines of a U.S. aircraft carrier and at least one destroyer that sits on a railway track.

Maxar identified the location of the features as Ruoqiang, a Taklamakan Desert county in the northwestern Xinjiang region.

China’s military uses target shaped like US aircraft carrier group in desert, report says

  China’s military uses target shaped like US aircraft carrier group in desert, report says The Chinese military built full-scale targets of U.S. warships--including an aircraft carrier-- in the middle of a desert in Northwest China known for ballistic missile testing, according to a report. The U.S. Naval Institute (USNI News) obtained photos of these targets scattered in the Taklamakan desert from Maxar, a satellite imagery company. The report said it appears that the structure was started sometime between March 2019 and April 2019 but "substantially complete by early October" 2021. The mock-ups are sophisticated and shows China's interest in honing technology to counter these strike groups.

The independent U.S. Naval Institute said on its website that the mock-ups of U.S. ships were part of a new target range developed by the People's Liberation Army.

It wasn't clear from the images how many details had been included in the apparent targets, although USNI said it had identified features on the destroyer including its funnels and weapons systems.

China's massive military upgrade has emphasized countering the U.S. and other countries' naval forces.

That's included the development of land, sea and air-launched missiles to deny access and possibly sink opposing vessels, expressed most emphatically by the land-based DF-21D ballistic missile known as the “carrier killer."

Recent months have also seen a substantial increase in Chinese military flights just southwest of Taiwan, the self-governing island republic claimed by Beijing as its own territory and which it threatens to annex by force. Washington provides Taiwan with much of its weaponry and U.S. law requires that it ensures the island can defend itself and to treat threats to it as matters of “grave concern."

China likely not preparing for military action on Taiwan, but recent actions still 'concerning,' experts say

  China likely not preparing for military action on Taiwan, but recent actions still 'concerning,' experts say China is likely not preparing for any imminent military action against Taiwan despite recent revelations that the country built replica U.S. warships for ballistic missile testing, experts tell Fox News. The U.S. Naval Institute (USNI News) obtained photos of the replica vessels – including an aircraft carrier – in the Taklamakan Desert. The mock-ups, which were "substantially complete by early October" 2021, appear to signal China’s intent to develop technology and methods to counter these U.S. assets. The revelation has stirred up increased concern among U.S. officials in Congress and the Pentagon about Chinese aggression.

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows a designated area in Ruoqiang county, China, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. Satellite images appear to show China has built mock-ups of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and destroyers in its northwestern desert, such as one in this image, possibly as practice for a future naval clash as tensions rise between the nations. (Maxar Technologies via AP) © Provided by Associated Press This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows a designated area in Ruoqiang county, China, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. Satellite images appear to show China has built mock-ups of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and destroyers in its northwestern desert, such as one in this image, possibly as practice for a future naval clash as tensions rise between the nations. (Maxar Technologies via AP)

The images released by Maxar come amid growing concerns over the possibility of military conflict between the world's two biggest economies, who are at odds over a litany of political and economic issues.

Most recently, the Pentagon this month issued a report saying China is expanding its nuclear force much faster than U.S. officials predicted just a year ago. That appears designed to enable Beijing to match or surpass U.S. global power by midcentury, the report said.

U.S. defense officials have said they are increasingly wary of China’s intentions, largely with regard to the status of Taiwan.

“The PLA’s evolving capabilities and concepts continue to strengthen (China’s) ability to ‘fight and win wars’ against a ‘strong enemy’ — a likely euphemism for the United States,” the report said.

China's navy and coast guard are also boosting their numbers of vessels at a record pace, concentrating them in the South China Sea, the strategic waterway that China claims virtually in its entirety.

While the U.S. Navy remains predominant, its resources are divided between the Indo-Pacific, the Persian Gulf, the Mediterranean and other regions where American interests lie.

China’s test of a hypersonic weapon capable of partially orbiting Earth before reentering the atmosphere and gliding on a maneuverable path to its target also surprised top U.S. military leaders. Beijing insisted it was testing a reusable space vehicle, not a missile, but the weapon system’s design is meant to evade U.S. missile defenses.

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the test was “very close” to being a Sputnik moment, akin to the 1957 launching by the Soviet Union of the world’s first space satellite, which fed fears the United States had fallen behind technologically.

China's nuclear and military buildup raises the risk of conflict in Asia .
It was already a dangerous race: China versus the United States, each pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into missiles, submarines, warplanes and ships, vying to dominate the Indo-Pacific. Now that race may be going nuclear.That race may now go nuclear.

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