According to several Chinese media reports this week, the largest Chinese aircraft carrier group yet convened is carrying out combat training near a US naval base in Japan.
According to a report this week from China’s Observer News translated by the Daily Caller News Foundation, China’s aircraft carrier “Liaoning,” along with seven other vessels, are currently doing a naval excursion near Nagasaki, Japan, and the United States Navy base at Sasebo. The USS Abraham Lincoln is also in the area, according to the news.
On May 2, the U.S. Naval Institute’s fleet tracker revealed that both the USS Abraham Lincoln and USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carriers were in the vicinity of Sasebo.
China’s naval operation follows a week after a Chinese military vessel was observed shadowing a U.S. Navy destroyer performing a freedom of navigation operation in the Taiwan Strait last week, according to reports.
A Chinese military news outlet confirmed its navy’s aircraft carrier group was sailing in the western Pacific Ocean this week, though the “routine training exercise” was not directed against any nation.
According to an opinion piece published by China’s Tencent News, the Liaoning’s aircraft carrier group has a total tonnage that is believed to be the biggest ever formed in the history of the People’s Liberation Army Navy.
The carrier group’s long-range precision strike capacity was reportedly greater than that of any US aircraft carrier formation, according to a translation by China’s NetEase News.
According to The Observer, the Chinese naval formation includes four destroyers, a guided-missile frigate, and a supply ship in addition to the Liaoning aircraft carrier.
There have been no reports that any Chinese submarines served within the Liaoning aircraft carrier formation, according to a Tencent News opinion piece. According to standard operating guidelines of US aircraft carrier groups, nuclear submarines from the People’s Liberation Army are allegedly always escorted by such vessels, implying that they could be present.