China confirms it is building first aircraft carrier...

Discussion in 'China' started by Marius Saturninus, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. Marius Saturninus

    Marius Saturninus Regular Member

    Mar 13, 2011
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    N 28° 38' 8.991", E 77° 13' 26.205"
    but claims 1,000ft vessel will NOT be used to threaten other nations

    A senior People's Liberation Army officer has confirmed that China is building its first aircraft carrier.

    General Chen Bingde is the first Chinese military official to confirm one of the world's worst-kept secrets, but he refused to say when the carrier - a remodelled Soviet-era vessel - would be ready.

    The 1,000ft Varyag, which is being built in the north-east port of Dalian, was originally constructed for the Soviet navy in the 1980s.

    But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it languished in dockyards in the Ukraine before a Chinese company bought it in 1998 claiming it wanted to turn it into a floating casino in Macau.

    Refurbishment work is expected to be nearly finished, and the aircraft carrier could being sea trials later this year.

    But Lieutenant General Qi Jianguo told the Hong Kong Commercial Daily the vessel would not be a threat to other countries.

    He said: 'Once we have constructed an aircraft carrier, we will never sail it to other regions like some countries with aircraft carriers frequently do.

    'All of the great nations in the world own aircraft carriers - they are symbols of a great nation.

    'It would have been better for us if we acted sooner in understanding the oceans and mapping out our blue-water capabilities earlier.

    'We are now facing heavy pressure in the oceans whether in the South China Sea, East China Sea, Yellow Sea or the Taiwan Straits.'

    The carrier has been fitted with combat sensors and defensive weapons and has been painted in the colours of the PLA.

    Some reports have claimed it could be called Shi Lang - after a Ming dynasty admiral who conquered Taiwan.

    In the last 12 months, the Chinese military has caused some alarm with a rapid weapons development programme - including the test flight of a J-20 stealth fighter and a 'carrier-killer' missile.

    China is embroiled in maritime border disputes with several nations - including Vietnam and the Philippines.

    The PLA is hugely secretive about its defence programme. It is by far the largest army in the world, with a standing army of about 2.2 million compared to America’s 1.6m.

    But it is still well behind the U.S. in terms of technology and capability.

    Possession of an aircraft carrier is seen as a symbol of a nation’s military ambitions on the international stage.

    Last Saturday China’s defence minister, Gen. Liang Guanglie, told a conference on Asian security that the military was still about 20 years behind the U.S., despite enormous spending on the armed forces.

    But he promised China would never seek military expansion in what he called a 'solemn pledge' to the international community.

    Britain’s only aircraft carrier, the Royal Navy flagship Ark Royal, was decommissioned in March after 25 years' service.

    Two new ships are being built, but are unlikely to be in service for 10 years or more.

    America has 11 aircraft carriers, Italy has two, while countries with one include France, Russia, India, Holland and Thailand.

    Read more: China confirms it is building first aircraft carrier... but claims 1,000ft vessel will NOT be used to threaten other nations | Mail Online
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2011

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