Satellite imagery of the northwestern Xinjiang region of China detected replicas of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier and other U.S. warships, marking preparation for a potential conflict.

Satellite imagery company Maxar Technologies on Sunday, Nov. 7, was able to capture shapes resembling the U.S. military complex from above Ruoqiang, a Taklamakan Desert county of the region, the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) reported in an analysis.

The institute confirmed the structure was akin to a U.S. carrier and at least two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers on a railway track. 

The USNI identified details of funnels and attacking systems in one of the mock U.S Destroyers. The U.S. aircraft carrier shape appeared flat in the Maxar images, but radar screening revealed a more sophisticated structure. 

It observed that the structure showed “China continues to focus on anti-carrier capabilities, with an emphasis on U.S. Navy warships.”

USNI believed they were erected as missile targets by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and “was substantially complete by early October,” also, around the time China started to send military jets to the Taiwan Strait and demanded reunification with the island.

Taiwan separated from China in 1949 during the civil war, but Beijing continues to view it as a territory to reclaim in the future. However, the island later abandoned the authoritarian governing model Beijing retained and moved to a multi-party democratic system, according to the BBC.

Refusing China’s offer of “one country, two systems” reunification, Taiwan pledged to defend its people from Beijing’s grasp. In contrast, Hong Kong, which accepted the deal, was severely infiltrated by the communist regime with its national security law introduced in 2020.

Bound by the “One China policy,” the U.S. is set to provide Taiwan military aid in case of attacks. 

The Maxar satellite discovery, in addition to multiple reports of significant weaponry progress achieved by the Chinese military, sparked grave concerns that the U.S. might have fallen behind with its fighting capacity.

“The PLA’s evolving capabilities and concepts continue to strengthen (China’s) ability to ‘fight and win wars’ against a ‘strong enemy’—a likely euphemism for the United States,” said U.S. defense officials, according to the Associated Press.

The outlet noted China had refused to discuss Maxar’s images.

“I’m not aware of the situation you mentioned,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Monday.

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