Satellite Images Reveal China Has Built Mock Versions of U.S. Navy Warships in Remote Desert

China has built full-scale mock-ups of United States warships in a remote desert in its northwestern Xinjiang region, satellite images have revealed.

According to the independent United States Naval Institute (USNI), the satellite images captured by Colorado-based space technology company Maxar Technologies on Nov. 7 show the shape of a U.S. aircraft carrier and at least one destroyer sitting on a railway track in the Taklamakan Desert.

USNI said that the mock-ups were part of a new target range developed by the People’s Liberation Army as China “continues to focus on anti-carrier capabilities, with an emphasis on U.S. Navy warships.”

USNI also noted that the site is near a former target range China reportedly used to test early versions of its anti-ship ballistic missiles.

The United States has warned in recent months that China has been rapidly expanding its military amid growing tensions between the two countries, as well as territorial disputes with other Asian countries in the South China Sea.

Defense Press Secretary John Kirby said at a press briefing that he has not yet seen the images.

“Clearly, [China] have invested a lot and particularly air and maritime capabilities that are designed largely to try to prevent the United States from having access to certain areas in the Indo-Pacific. What we’re focused on is that pacing challenge and making sure that we maintain the right capabilities and the right operational concepts to meet our security commitments in that part of the world,” Kirby said.

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