Chinas mock target used in military practice is message to US, say experts

A new weapons-testing range in China has been found to contain a fake US aircraft carrier, sparking rumours of war between the two nations.

According to the South China Morning Post, satellite images taken by Maxar Technologies showed the People’s Liberation Army had built targets in the shapes of an American aircraft carrier at a new shooting range in the Taklamakan desert in Xinjiang.

This could point to China's Rocket Force until resuming anti-shop ballistic missile tests – something they haven't been known to do for a few years.

Lu Li-shih, a former instructor at Taiwan’s Naval Academy in Kaohsiung told SCMP: “Compared with their previous tests and based on the sizes of warship mock-ups, the images suggest that the PLA has stepped up tests to target smaller and more mobile vehicles this time.

“Judging by the new shooting range’s distance from the PLA rocket force’s launch sites in Inner Mongolia and Gansu, the new range for missile tests is over 1,550 miles, meaning not only American warships would be targeted, but also the US military bases in Yokosuka and Guam.

“China wants to show the US that the PLA is able to hit its warships at sea and military bases in the Indo-Pacific precisely.”

And Zhou Chenming, a researcher at the Yuan Wang military science and technology institute in Beijing claims that the mock-ups and drills are meant to warn America “not to intervene” in regional security issues – such as the current tensions between the country and Taiwan.

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He explained: “The message from Beijing to the Americans is, don’t believe aircraft carrier strike groups are unbeatable, and now even the US naval bases in the region are under the coverage of the PLA’s DF-26 and other medium-range ballistic missiles.

“China hopes to make the US aware of the huge cost of intervention in the Taiwan issue, as well as China’s territorial disputes.

“A mock-up drill in 2017 showed the PLA had been testing how to neutralise runways in airbases and aircraft carrier decks with submunition warheads – a limited attack tactic aimed at leaving some leeway for negotiation.”

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