TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Chinese aircraft carrier the Liaoning was found to have been shadowed by a U.S. Navy destroyer transiting through the Philippine Sea east of Taiwan since Sunday (April 25), and the destroyer is now heading towards the Miyako Strait.
A military watch site revealed a satellite image showing an American Arleigh Burke-class destroyer sailing through the Philippine Sea while appearing to traverse the Liaoning carrier strike group. The destroyer then turned to follow and monitor the People's Liberation Army Navy carrier.
The Liaoning, which had been operating in the South China Sea for two weeks, is accompanied by a Type 054A-class missile frigate, a 052D destroyer, a 055 destroyer, and a 901 replenishment oiler.
The Chinese combat group began its mission on April 10 in the Bashi Channel near Taiwan's Orchid Island, sailed near Hainan Island between April 11 and 14, moved south to the South China Sea for a week, then headed north on April 22 only to be joined by the American destroyer in the Philippine Sea.
(Twitter, OSINT-1 screenshot)
A fortnight of Liaoning aircraft carrier in the South China Sea. pic.twitter.com/YQUYANj4a2— Duan Dang (@duandang) April 25, 2021
The image shows the American destroyer on Sunday cutting across the carrier strike group from the left side to somewhere between the Liaoning and the accompanying combat support ship. Over the next two days, the carrier was shadowed by the destroyer. The last image shows the American warship heading towards the Miyako Strait.
On April 11, the second day of the weeks-long operation, the U.S. Navy released a picture of Commander Robert Briggs of the USS Mustin casually sitting back with his feet propped up as he watched the Chinese carrier passing just a few thousand meters away. Taiwanese experts viewed the gesture as one of cognitive warfare, with the U.S. Navy conveying its disdain for the combat effectiveness of the Chinese boats.