01:55 GMT +313 November 2018
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    China's Liaoning aircraft carrier with accompanying fleet conducts a drill in an area of South China Sea in this undated photo taken December, 2016

    US, China Flex Naval Muscles Amid Ongoing Trade War

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    Asia & Pacific
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    The economic standoff between the United States and China appears to be taking on a new aspect as the two countries’ navies show off their capabilities during drills conducted in the Pacific.

    Over 40 Chinese warships led by the Liaoning aircraft carrier have engaged in a series of live-fire military exercises in the South China Sea as three US aircraft carrier battle groups prepare to conduct maneuvers in the Pacific, South China Morning Post reports.

    According to several military analysts cited by the newspaper, the drills were staged both in order to test the ship’s capabilities and as a show of force for those who might challenge Beijing’s might.

    "China wants to show the outside world its determination to defend the fruits of its economic reforms over the past 40 years," Beijing-based military analyst Zhou Chenming said.

    The newspaper also pointed out that China conducts these exercises amid an ongoing trade war as Washington and Beijing announce “tit-for-tat tariffs on each other’s products,” and that the United States has also deployed three aircraft carrier groups to the Asia-Pacific region.

    "The US's increasing military presence in the South China Sea indicates that Washington sees Beijing as a serious competitor, not only economically, but also militarily," Zhou remarked.

    Earlier, the Chinese Defense Ministry issued a statement saying that the People's Liberation Army Air Force would hold large-scale military exercises in the western part of the Pacific Ocean in the near future.

    READ MORE: Chinese Air Force to Hold Drills in Western Pacific

    According to the air force spokesman, the drills are expected to involve different types of combat aircraft, including Xian H-6 bombers and Su-30 fighters, and the warplanes will also carry out patrolling actions over the South China Sea.

    Related:

    Chinese Aircraft Carrier Leads Massive Drills in South China Sea
    Beijing Slams US Decision to Sail Warship Through Disputed South China Sea
    Beijing Blames External Forces for Sowing Discord in South China Sea
    Tags:
    warships, military drills, fleet, Chinese Navy, US Navy, South China Sea, China, United States, Pacific Ocean
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