China Confirms Carrier Plans


China confirmed yesterday that it’s close to completing the refitting of the former Soviet aircraft carrier Varyag, now known as the Shi Lang, and that the vessel will soon be ready for its first ‘research and training’ mission.

The refurbishment of the former Ukrainian vessel has been known about – and widely speculated on – for some time. But Chinese officials this time went further in adding that they are also considering building their own carrier.

‘Taking into accounts all elements, authorities in China are seriously looking into the development of an aircraft carrier. To build a carrier is a complicated process,’ Senior Col. Geng Yansheng, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense, was quoted by CNTV as saying.

The announcement comes at a sensitive time in the region. An intensifying row with Southeast Asian neighbours including Vietnam and the Philippines over territorial claims in the South China Sea has exacerbated concerns that China will employ an increasingly muscular foreign policy backed up by a rapidly strengthening military.

Chinese military officials, though, were quick to defend the country’s carrier plans.

In a front-page editorial, the official Liberation Army Daily argued that past Chinese ‘humiliations’ have ‘left the Chinese people with the deep pain of having seas they could not defend, helplessly eating the bitter fruit of being beaten for being backward.’

Despite the emphasis on defence, the reference to ‘humiliation’ and national pride is bound to stoke concerns among neighbours like Japan that China’s military rise will be coupled with a growing – and dangerous – nationalism.

Speaking yesterday, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano will have spoken for many when he stated: ‘The issue of transparency regarding China's defense policy and its military expansion itself are concerns not only for Japan but for the region and the international community.’

But China argues that military expansion doesn’t necessarily mean that aggressive policies will follow.

In an interview with China Daily, Du Wenlong, a research fellow with the Academy of Military Sciences, argues that much of the foreign media has misunderstood China’s military development.

‘China's development of aircraft carriers is aimed at making a greater contribution by the Chinese people to a harmonious maritime environment. China's development of aircraft carriers is not directed against anyone or any country, but a kind of maintenance and protection for world and regional security,’ he said.

‘Some foreign media deliberately created the “China threat theory,” but with the “China threat theory” being there for so many years, no one is threatened. The facts will continue to prove that despite developing aircraft carriers, China will always be a defender of world peace and stability.’

The question now is whether China intends to utilize the increasingly big stick that it possesses, or just keep speaking softly.

July 29, 2011 at 08:31

It is utter stupidity that spews from news sites and pretty much anywhere these days. None of them should be taken seriously. Even if your just looking for news on a “current real war” let alone a dreamt up world war in the minds of Zionist hacks to play with the minds of the world.

America and Britain assured Poland they would support them against Germany which was thought of by everyone as a weakling and down and out. And people who don’t know why Hitler was so admired need to shut up and look at the “German perspective” of history. Poland was being used to prod Germany and had plans itself to invade Germany with British and American backing. The fact that Poland proved as not even a slight problem for Germany when war finally broke out, due to the mass murdering of German nationals in the occupied lands of Poland and other parts of eastern europe.

July 29, 2011 at 02:16

Are you suggesting that the people of China should ignore the humiliation they suffered for over a centually so as not to built a defensive positure in order to protect against further future invasions and humiliations of their homeland. Before and during world two, Jaspan’s invasion of China killed 25 million Chinise citizens. Before that, Britain and other powers invaded and colonised parts of China. They also robbed the Chinise Summer Palace of priceless items that went back some four thousand years. I am an American and proud of it, but I have a simple question. If the Chinise people had invaded the USA, killed 25 million American citizens and then robbed the Smithsonian of all its priceless items, and in response the USA decided to built up its defenses in order to make sure such acts will not permited to happen in the future. Under these kinds conditions, will you have written the same kind of article as the above one, upon which you accuse America of military expansionism. Mr Miks, I don’t know if you are American or not, but your articles, like those of the many who write for the Diplomat are Imperial in nature. I have read the Diplomat for many years. From that experience, I have reached the point upon which I understand the central element of the Diplomat’s focus. And it is this, that in all of human history empires have fallen and new ones have riesn to take their place. It is under these conditions upon which the Diplomat and other western media have decided that the American empire must be an exception to the rule and endure despite the fast rise of a powerful China. I have news for you Mr. Miks, American decline is for real and on time, all you have do is watch the barbaric debate in Washington about the debt ceiling. Amd please, I don’t want to hear the tired Diplomat talk about how the Chinise have tamed central Asia, but are not well loved. The question is, if China is not well loved in central Asia, then how much is America loved in the Muslim world.

July 29, 2011 at 01:31

“The refurbishment of the former Ukrainian vessel has been known about – and widely speculated on – for some time”

It’s public knowledge of little significance however Western governments/media have an official policy of propagating the ‘China Threat’ theory so every little thing is exaggerated, written, edited and rewritten with the exact same information again and again!!! It’s truly pathetic and I feel sorry for the brain dead people who actually buy into this nonsense!

“the West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.”
–Samuel P. Huntington

July 29, 2011 at 00:31

Excuse me, I see that you did mention the training and research part, but you misrepresented it as its first mission rather than its whole purpose, and proceeded to ignore that aspect for the rest of the article.

July 29, 2011 at 00:27

Mr. Miks, could you stop writing about military developments please? All you’re doing is rehashing old news that fit your own agenda. Case in point, the TITLE of the Xinhua release on the ex-Varyag refitting states that it’s being refitted as a “training and research vessel.” Obviously, that doesn’t suit your China threat agenda, so of course you didn’t bother mentioning it. Whether you agree with Xinhua’s stated purpose of the ship or not is another matter, but not reporting it at all just smacks of low journalistic integrity.

Secondly, “now known as Shi Lang?” Says who? It’s ludicrous to think that China would name a ship after a traitor. Why don’t you look up who Shi Lang is and what he did when the Manchurians invaded China? When’s the last time you did your own investigations?

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