Chinese warships have been shadowing aircraft carriers from the US and UK while traveling through the South China Sea, according to chilling satellite imagery taken on Tuesday.
Elements of the US Navy’s and Royal Navy’s strike groups were seen off the coast of the Philippines on Tuesday as seen by images shared by Duan Dang, a maritime observer from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Nearby were several warships believed to be part of China’s People’s Liberation Army.
The HMS Queen Elizabeth was scheduled to take part in maritime exercises with ships and aircraft from allied nations.
The US arrived at the South China Sea on Monday after two days of drills near Taiwan and Okinawa. In response, dozens of military jets were flown by Beijing near southwest Taiwan.
The flights continued in the Bashi Channel with over 50 aircraft as US and UK forces traveled to the South China Sea.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price called China’s response “provocative” – adding that the act “undermines regional peace and stability.”
“We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan,” he said.
“In my opinion, the surge of military aircraft may signify how much Beijing had been irritated over the recent gathering of US and UK carrier strike groups near Taiwan.” wrote Duan in his newsletter.
Similar responses are expected to happen the next time a US aircraft enters the Bashi Channel, Duan says.
In September, China unveiled the CH-6, an anti-submarine drone at an airshow in Zhuhai.