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China launches second Type 075 assault ship
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China plans to deploy four Type 075 assault ships in sequence by 2025, state media reported Wednesday.

China launched a second amphibious assault ship on Wednesday, the 40,000-ton Type 075, more than a week after fire was reported on the new vessel.

The People's Liberation's Army is launching the assault ship with plans to build a total of four assault ships by 2025, Chinese state tabloid Global Times and Hong Kong's Oriental Daily News reported Wednesday.

According to reports, the Type 075 first-in-class amphibious vessel was launched at Hudong Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai, at 1:30 p.m.

China remains wary of the novel coronavirus, but the country has claimed the situation has largely stabilized.

The new Type 075 is capable of carrying out various missions at sea and is a self-developed Chinese amphibious vessel, state media said.

The launch comes after China's maritime safety administration issued a "ban on entry" for boats planning to navigate waters near the shipyard located on the Pudong side of the Huangpu River in Shanghai.

China's second Type 075 rivals the USS Wasp, a U.S. Navy multipurpose amphibious assault ship. The Chinese vessel is capable of sailing at 30 knots and can carry up to 1,208 crew and 28 helicopters, according to reports.

The amphibious assault ship can also be equipped with China's HongQi-10 surface-to-air missile system and a close-in weapon system that can deliver 10,000 shots per minute, reports say.

China's military plans to deploy four Type 075 assault ships in sequence by 2025, in addition to an aircraft carrier.

Prior to the launch, fire was reported at the shipyard.
According to reports, the Type 075 first-in-class amphibious vessel was launched at Hudong Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai, at 1:30 p.m.

China remains wary of the novel coronavirus, but the country has claimed the situation has largely stabilized.

The new Type 075 is capable of carrying out various missions at sea and is a self-developed Chinese amphibious vessel, state media said.

The launch comes after China's maritime safety administration issued a "ban on entry" for boats planning to navigate waters near the shipyard located on the Pudong side of the Huangpu River in Shanghai.

China's second Type 075 rivals the USS Wasp, a U.S. Navy multipurpose amphibious assault ship. The Chinese vessel is capable of sailing at 30 knots and can carry up to 1,208 crew and 28 helicopters, according to reports.

The amphibious assault ship can also be equipped with China's HongQi-10 surface-to-air missile system and a close-in weapon system that can deliver 10,000 shots per minute, reports say.

China's military plans to deploy four Type 075 assault ships in sequence by 2025, in addition to an aircraft carrier.

Prior to the launch, fire was reported at the shipyard.

"While the fire damage looks superficial on the outside, there is no way to tell what kind of damage was done inside the [landing helicopter dock] and if the incident will affect the expected start of sea trials," Naval News reported earlier in April.
 

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Chinese navy commissions nuclear-powered submarine

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China has recently commissioned a "new strategic nuclear-powered submarine", according to a 22 April report by the state-owned Global Times newspaper.

Written to reflect recent achievements of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in celebration of the 71st anniversary of the establishment of the naval service, the report refers to "new weapons" entering service including the Type 055 destroyer, the first domestically built aircraft carrier, and new anti-submarine patrol aircraft (the KQ-200), as well as the new submarine.

The report does not identify the type of submarine but the description that it is a "strategic" asset suggests that it is referring to a nuclear ballistic missile-carrying submarine (SSBN). Although referred to as a new weapon, it is unlikely that this is the first of the next-generation Type 096 SSBNs. The interval between launch and commissioning of the first Type 096 could be up to four years and a new design has not yet become evident in satellite imagery.
 

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China’s Latest, Most Advanced Howitzer Enters Service
May 2, 2020
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China’s most advanced vehicle-mounted howitzer, the PCL-181, recently entered service with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command, the theater command confirmed on Thursday. With technical details revealed for the first time, experts say the weapon is one of the best in the world.

In the past few days, troops of a brigade under the Eastern Theater Command received the 155mm vehicle-mounted howitzer, which made its public debut as a newly developed weapon at the National Day military parade on October 1, 2019 in Beijing, the Eastern Theater Command confirmed on its Sina Weibo account on Thursday.

The statement came after China Central Television (CCTV) on Wednesday reported the weapon had been commissioned. This report is also seemingly the first time an official source has identified the designation of the howitzer as the PCL-181.

Neither the Eastern Theater Command nor CCTV has specified how many howitzers were included in this delivery, but at least 18 were seen in the report.

The 155mm wheeled vehicle-mounted howitzer weighs only 25 tons, making it much lighter and faster and with longer endurance than the previous self-propelled howitzer which uses crawler tracks and weighs more than 40 tons, the CCTV report said, noting it can also hit targets at longer ranges with increased firepower.

This data means the PCL-181 not only has high mobility, but it can also be transported by large transport aircraft like the domestically made Y-20, which has a cargo capacity of more than 60 tons, a military expert who requested to remain anonymous told the Global Times on Thursday.

A single Y-20 can likely carry two PCL-181s, or a combination of one PCL-181 and one 30 ton-class Type 15 lightweight main battle tank, both of which are choices that offer frontline troops immense firepower, the expert said, noting that this will give the Chinese military more tactical flexibility in strategic transport and quick reaction operations.

The vehicle the howitzer is mounted on has a large driver’s cab that can accommodate all six artillery squad members, protecting them with bulletproof glass that enhances the unit’s survivability.

Digitalized control panels can be found in the cab, and this highly digitalized system allows artillery gun deployment with the press of a button, automatic gun calibration and half-automatic ammo reload. This can shorten the preparation time to shoot the weapon, giving the artillery stronger combat capabilities, according to the report.

China has been leading the world in the artillery sector for many years, and the PCL-181 has set yet another example, the expert said.

One key mission of the PLA Eastern Theater Command is to prepare for potential military struggle on the island of Taiwan, military observers noted.

The PCL-181 was also spotted earlier this year in a round of PLA exercises in a high-elevation plateau region in Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, CCTV reported in January.
 

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China’s Liaoning Completes Exercise in South China Sea
May 2, 2020

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The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy’s Liaoning aircraft carrier returned to Qingdao naval port in Shandong Province, from the South China Sea (SCS) following the completion of month-long exercises.

The Liaoning aircraft carrier task group returned on April 30 after wrapping up the comprehensive back-to-back attack-defense mock battles, Xinhua reported Friday.

Japanese Ministry of Defense said on April 12 that a Chinese flotilla consisting of the Liaoning aircraft carrier, two Type 052D guided missile destroyers, two Type 054A guided missile frigates and one Type 901 auxiliary supply ship, were spotted crossing the Miyako Strait two days earlier.

“The exercises came at a time when the US has been sending warships and aircraft into the SSC with increasing frequency, even as the US Navy has been struggling to deal with multiple COVID-19 outbreaks,” Global Times reported Friday.

On April 28, the Chinese Navy claimed that its forces expelled a US guided missile destroyer USS Barry when it “illegally trespassed” into China's territorial waters off Xisha Islands in the SCS. The claim was rejected by the US.
 

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Beijing Intensifies Military Presence in South China Sea in Light of Growing US Activities in Region
10.05.2020
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While China has major interests in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, the US does not – but it still sends military vessels there under the pretext of upholding freedom of navigation in the region.

Both Washington and Beijing have intensified their military activities in the South China Sea over the course of 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019, despite the ongoing pandemic - which has impacted at least part of the US Navy's forces.

The US has so far conducted some 39 flights in close proximity with China's borders or over disputed territories this year. These flights went over the South and East China Seas, near Hong Kong, and over the Taiwan Strait that separates Mainland China from the autonomous island, which Beijing considers a part of its territory. The US Navy, in turn, has conducted four missions in the disputed waters of the South China Sea since the start of 2020, calling them freedom of navigation operations. Compared with last year, the US has at least doubled the amount of its operations in the region.

"Our forces fly, sail and operate in the international waters of the South China Sea at our discretion and in accordance with maritime norms and international law, showing the wide range of naval capability we have available in the Indo-Pacific", Fred Kacher, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 7, commented on the current US operations in the region.
US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper, in turn, said that the American forces' operations in the South China Sea were a way to "maintain a degree of strategic predictability", while garnering "a higher degree of operational unpredictability" for China.

Beijing has not been holding back either, intensifying its activities in the South China Sea region in response to the US actions. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force has conducted a higher than usual number of flights over the disputed territories and other sensitive areas, like the Taiwan Strait. China's Liaoning aircraft carrier has also been spotted on several occasions near the island, while the PLA Navy carried out anti-submarine war games in April.

South China Sea Dispute
China claims ownership over significant patches of the South China Sea, marked by the so-called nine-dash line, disputed by at least four other nations. To create a foothold in the region, Beijing has built a number of military installations in the region, insisting that they are purely of a defensive nature.

Washington has repeatedly condemned these efforts by Beijing and has attempted to counter China's advance by carrying out regular freedom of navigation missions in the South China Sea. China has slammed such actions by Washington, calling them provocations and urging the White House to stop them.
 

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Chinese Army PLA reveals new land based EW systems
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In a recent exercise, PLA revealed new land based mobile EW systems. These new systems are designed to provide cover to advancing forces, and forward operating bases
 

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China now has world's largest navy as Beijing advances towards goal of a ‘world-class' military by 2049, says US DoD

02 September 2020
by Andrew Tate


China now has the largest navy in the world, an expansion driven by Beijing’s aspirations to “return” the country to a position of strength and leadership on the world stage, the US Department of Defense (DoD) said in its 2020 report on military and security developments involving China.

Published on 1 September the report, often referred to as the ‘China Military Power Report’, states that the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) now has “a battle force of approximately 350 platforms, including major surface combatants, submarines, ocean-going amphibious ships, mine warfare ships, aircraft carriers, and fleet auxiliaries”, compared with the US Navy’s (USN’s) 293 ships using the same measure.


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Some of almost 50 ships assembled for a PLAN fleet review held in April 2018. The Pentagon said in a 1 September report that the PLAN is now the world’s largest navy. (Via Xinhua News Agency)

Although the cut-off date for the Pentagon assessment was the end of 2019 and developments have continued apace through 2020, the 200 page-long report provides an authoritative source of timescales and numbers for a number of significant capabilities.

The report notes progress in the construction of the PLAN’s third carrier, which in comparison with the two already in service “will be larger and fitted with a catapult launch system”. It assesses that the third carrier will enter service in 2023 and be operational by 2024 and also reports that development continues on the fifth-generation FC-31/J-31 multi-role fighter aircraft “for export or as a future naval fighter for the PLAN's next class of aircraft carriers”, largely confirming persistent rumours.

Full Report:
 

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Hints of progress with China’s Hawkeye doppelganger

By Greg Waldron
16 September 2020

A series of images from Chinese social media suggest that the Xian KJ-600 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft flew in late August, marking a milestone in Beijing’s blue water navy ambitions.

US Navy (USN) officers serving aboard aircraft carriers are fond of saying that the first aircraft they launch when underway is not a fighter, but the Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye AEW&C platform.

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Source: Chinese social media
The KJ-600’s purported first flight


With a large radar dish above a somewhat ungainly fuselage, the E-2 plays a role of paramount importance, providing high altitude radar coverage that would be impossible for a ship or a helicopter. The Hawkeye also serves as a vital command and control node for the USN.

The development of a similar carrier-borne AEW&C capability is integral to Beijing’s ambitions of developing a blue water navy centred on large catapult assisted take-off but arrested recovery, or CATOBAR, aircraft carriers.

In late August these ambitions seemed to take a step forward, when photographs appeared on Chinese social media sites that apparently showed the KJ-600 in flight.

Prior to this, China observers had relied on grainy images shot at long distances, overhead satellite images, and artist impressions of the secretive type. These suggested it is virtually identical to the E-2, including the Hawkeye’s distinctive tail arrangement with four vertical stabilisers.
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A satellite image believed to be of the KJ-600
Source: Chinese social media

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The KJ-600's purported first flight
Source: @中导绝响 at the lt.cjdby.net-Forum 1

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The purported first flight of the KJ-600
Source: Chinese social media

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The purported first flight of the KJ-600
Source: @中导绝响 at the lt.cjdby.net-Forum 2

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The KJ-600's purported first flight
Source: Chinese social media

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The KJ-600's purported first flight
Source: Chinese social media

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At Airshow China in November 2018, CETC promoted the KLC-7 AESA radar
Source: Greg Waldron/FlightGlobal

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An artist's impression of the KJ-600
Source: Chinese defence media


China’s nationalistic Global Times newspaper was quick to trumpet the KJ-600’s first flight, but based its reporting entirely on western news outlets. Mainstream Chinese state publications, such as the China Daily and Xinhua, ignored the news altogether.

In the subsequent weeks no further images of an airborne KJ-600 have appeared.

Defence forums focused on Chinese media had predicted a first flight of the KJ-600 since at least 2019, so the emergence of images in late August is consistent with this timeline. The KJ-600 also follows an earlier flying testbed programme, the JZY-01.


While Beijing has been characteristically secretive about the aircraft’s evolution, there is more clarity about what is arguably the platform’s most sensitive capability, its radar array.

At the 2018 Airshow China in Zhuhai, CETC had an exhibit about its KLC-7 active electronically scanned array radar. A promotional video showed a twin-turboprop aircraft – presumably the KJ-600 – direct an engagement against a group of enemy fighters that resembled Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.

The KLC-7, says CETC, can track targets at all altitudes, including sea-skimming cruise missiles and ships. Similar to how the Hawkeye has been sold to US allies such as France, Japan and Taiwan, it is possible that China could see export potential for the KJ-600.

In addition to the KJ-600, artist’s impressions have suggested that the type may have a carrier on-board delivery (COD) variant, serving a mission similar to the Hawkeye’s COD variant, the C-2 Greyhound.

Meanwhile, China’s third aircraft carrier, possibly designated Type 003, is under construction in Jiangnan shipyard. Unlike China’s first two carriers, the CNS Liaoning and Shandong, it will be equipped with an electromagnetic catapult, similar to those that equip the latest USN carrier, the USS Gerald Ford.

The vessel’s estimated displacement will be 80,000-85,000t. By using catapults, as opposed to the ski-jump ramp used on Beijing’s existing pair of carriers, it will be able to launch a broader range of aircraft, including AEW&C types. In 2019, the Center for Strategic & International Studies suggested it would enter service in 2022.
 

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China Developing new Howitzer Based on Type 15 Tank Chassis​

  • October 6, 2020

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Type 15 tank (image via state media)

China is reportedly developing a new howitzer with a range of at least 40km based on Type 15 tank chassis.

Photographs circulating on social media show an armored vehicle armed with long-barrel artillery. Judging by the images, reports said it would be derived from China’s Type 15 lightweight main battle tank. The maximum range of the 155mm howitzer is expected to be at least 40km.

The Type 15 was used as the basis for the development of the VN-17 heavy infantry fighting vehicle. Weighing 30 tons, it is armed with a 30 mm automatic cannon and third-generation anti-tank missiles. It can accommodate 10 soldiers.

Type 15 tank has a max speed of 70kmph and range of over 400km. It weighs between 33-36 tons depending on the armor package. It is armed with 105mm rifled gun with thermal sleeve and fume extractor, 40mm automatic grenade launcher and a 12.7mm machine gun.
 

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PLA’s 4th improved Type 052D destroyer makes maiden appearance in maritime exercise

By Liu Xuanzun
Published: Mar 30, 2021

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The Suzhou (Hull 132), an improved version of the Type 052D guided missile destroyer attached to a destroyer taskforce affiliated with the People's Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command Navy, conducts maritime exercises in an undisclosed sea region together with Sovremenny-class destroyers Taizhou (Hull 138) and Hangzhou (Hull 136). Photo: Screenshot from the PLA Daily

The fourth improved Type 052D guided missile destroyer of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy made its first appearance in a maritime exercise after its recent commissioning, as Chinese analysts praised the Chinese warships' speed in gaining combat capabilities.

The destroyers Taizhou, Hangzhou and Suzhou, attached to a destroyer taskforce affiliated with the PLA Eastern Theater Command Navy, recently conducted a series of scenario-based combat exercises in an undisclosed sea region, the PLA Daily reported on Monday.

More than a dozen of training objectives were completed, with officers' commanding abilities and the ships' coordinated combat capabilities increased, the report said.

Video footage released by the PLA Daily report shows that the Suzhou is an improved version of the Type 052D destroyer, Chinese military observers pointed out, noting that this is the first public appearance of the ship in maritime exercises.

On February 11, the PLA Navy's official Sina Weibo account released a video that mentioned a warship named after Suzhou, in East China's Jiangsu Province, without any more details or additional footage of the ship to be able to identify it. This means that the Suzhou was likely already commissioned at that time, analysts said.

China has built three consignments of Type 052D destroyers and while the first two batches are only slightly different in appearance, the ships from the third lot are equipped with antistealth radars and extended helicopter landing decks. The Suzhou is part of this third lot, eastday.com, a Shanghai news website, reported on Monday.

At least four of the improved Type 052D destroyers are known to the general public to have entered service, namely the Zibo, the Tangshan, the Huainan and the Suzhou, eastday.com said.

The participation of these new ships in maritime exercises show that they are quickly gaining combat capabilities and foreign speculation that China's speed to train personnel cannot match the building of warships are false, Chinese analysts said.

Back in August 2020, China launched its 25th Type 052D destroyer and eighth Type 055 large destroyer, media reported, noting that many are still being equipped or are in sea trial phase and not commissioned yet.

The maritime exercise allows troops to try their adaptation to operating in combat zones and also demonstrates the PLA's strength and deterrence, Xu Guangyu, a senior adviser to the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, told the Global Times on Tuesday

Other PLA Navy ships, like the more powerful Type 055 large destroyers and aircraft carriers, will also hold similar exercises, Xu said.
 

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PLA commissions new-type robot for bomb disposal
By Liu Xuanzun
Published: Mar 31, 2021


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A soldier affiliated with an engineer and NBC defense brigade under the Chinese People's Liberation Army 71st Group Army operates a new type of bomb disposal robot in training in Spring 2021. Photo: Screenshot from China Central Television

A new robot type has entered service, as it demonstrated its capacity in a recent bomb disposal exercise by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). The commissioning of such a device is an example of the PLA's modernization as machines have replaced humans in dangerous missions and increased combat efficiency, analysts said on Wednesday.

An engineer and nuclear, biological and chemical defense brigade under the PLA 71st Group Army recently held a human-robot integration tactical training in East China's Anhui Province, in which the new bomb disposal robot made its debut, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Tuesday.

Remotely controlled by an operator, the robot crossed a contaminated zone, climbed over steep slopes of nearly 40 degrees and used water cannons to dispose of explosives, CCTV reported.

The flexible robot is equipped with six cameras that can monitor the battlefield environment in all directions, can turn 360 degrees on the spot and overcome obstacles in complicated environments like mountains and snow fields, the report said, noting that it is up for missions like detecting, locating, transferring and defusing explosives.

In another training scenario at a residential building, the caterpillar-tracked robot showed its capability to walk stairs and dismantle the explosives with its robotic arm rather than setting it off with water cannons, the footage shows.

The utilization of the new equipment effectively explored the potential of human-robot integration in combat, CCTV said.

The Chinese people's armed forces are pushing for mechanization, informatization and intelligentization as a part of a modernization plan by 2027, the 100th anniversary of the forces' founding, and unmanned equipment like robots and drones are an important part of it, a Chinese military expert told the Global Times on Wednesday, requesting anonymity.

Explosive ordnance disposal is a high-risk mission, and explosives are threats to both military and civilian personnel whether or not they are trained, the expert said, noting that the deployment of bomb disposal robots can greatly reduce potential casualties.

Other types of robots for purposes like reconnaissance, ammunition carrying, assault, fire support and minesweeping are also entering service with the PLA, and have proved their efficiency in exercises, the expert said.
 

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China flexes military muscle around Taiwan with flights, sea maneuvers

April 7, 2021

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China's Type 001A aircraft carrier was seen traveling through the Miyako Strait near Okinawa. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

April 7 (UPI) -- China's military conducted air and sea exercises near Taiwan amid Beijing's continued opposition to closer ties between Washington and Taipei.

Beijing's forces deployed the aircraft carrier Liaoning and escort vessels in waters near the island nation for a "routine training exercise," CNN reported Wednesday.

The training was "organized according to the annual work plan to test the troops' training effectiveness and beef up their capability to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests," the Chinese statement said.

The exercise reportedly took place on Monday. Earlier in the week, Japan's defense ministry disclosed a photo of the Liaoning, a Type 001A carrier traveling through the Miyako Strait near Okinawa. The ship was commissioned into the People's Liberation Army Navy in 2012.

Taiwan's defense ministry said China also demonstrated air power, with flights of at least 10 PLA warplanes, including J-16 and J-10 fighter jets. A Y-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft and a KJ-500 early warning aircraft trespassed into Taiwan's air defense identification zone, according to Taipei.

China does not recognize Taiwanese sovereignty. Under Chinese President Xi Jinping, Beijing has declined to rule out the use of force to take back Taiwan, according to CNN.

Thomas Shugart, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, said the exercises come with risks.

The U.S. Navy's nuclear-powered attack submarines, or SSNs, are active in the open Pacific, he said.

"A Chinese carrier operating east of Taiwan is not particularly valuable being used like that, as it could be quite vulnerable operating that far out -- in SSN-infested deep water and beyond China's integrated air defense/[surface-to-air missile] umbrella," Shugart said, according to CNN.

Writing for Bloomberg, Tyler Cowen, an economist at George Mason University, said China could be considering taking "significant action," because it is eyeing a window of opportunity.

"The evolution of military technologies would ... seem to argue for Chinese action sooner rather than later," Cowen said.

"Even a very powerful China might find Taiwan difficult to conquer in 20 years. At the current moment, Taiwan's defense capabilities seem especially run down."

Related:
China criticizes passage of USS John S. McCain through Taiwan Strait
April 7, 2021
 
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