China’s military advanced along several fronts in 2016 in its concerted program to develop new asymmetric and conventional warfare capabilities while continuing to challenge the United States for military control of key waterways in Asia.
As 2016 drew to a close, China flexed its military muscle with the high-profile dispatch of its lone aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, to an area of the western Pacific in a carrier battle group formation. Seven warships accompanied the carrier – three destroyers, three frigates and a supply ship.
Contrary to many western China analysts’ who said the Chinese carrier would take many years to deploy, Chinese state media trumpeted naval drills as a sign the the carrier will ready for combat operation sooner than expected.
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