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.
"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.
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.