China Warships Shadow U.S. and Allied Naval Groups in South China Sea

China appears to have deployed military vessels to shadow American and British aircraft carrier formations in the South China Sea ahead of an intensive six-nation exercise, analysis of satellite imagery revealed on Tuesday.

An image shared by Ho Chi Minh-based maritime observer Duan Dang showed elements of the U.S. Navy’s Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group and the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group off the west coast of the Philippines on October 5.

The U.K. flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth was west of the Luzon Strait, which separates Taiwan and the Philippines, while USS Carl Vinson was operating north of the disputed Scarborough Shoal, which is claimed by Manila but administered by Beijing, said Duan, who is the author of the newsletter South China Sea Brief.

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