Cynical Synapse

Sat, 13 Aug 2011

China’s Aircraft Carrier is a Threat No Matter How You Paint It

Filed under: Allies, China, Engineering, Military, National security — cynicalsynapse @ 10:18 am

Chinese military marching

I should know better, but it used to be I considered China’s military capabilities as behind the former Soviet, today’s Russians, the biggest threat being the sheer numbers the Chinese could field. The Chinese have no capability to directly threaten the United States. China is clearly a rising star (no pun intended) on the world stage, growing in prestige, consumption, and military might. It’s somewhat amusing to me the politically correct saw fit to change the Red Dawn remake invaders from Chinese to North Koreans. While the North Koreans are certainly pursuing a more aggressive, in your face, approach to their “national security”, they certainly have far less capability than China.

Meanwhile, China has been quietly improving its military capabilities, just as it has modified its economy. Significantly, China is leapfrogging, technologically, not increasing the size of its military substantially. While China claims its national security strategy is defensive, an international political expert at Peking University said:

At a time when China’s interests span the globe, it does not fit China’s national interests to have a naval defense strategy restricted to its territorial waters. It needs aircraft carriers to expand its sphere of operation throughout the world.

China's first aircraft carrier

The former Soviet varyag (Admiral Kuznetsovclass aircraft carrier) Chinese aircraft carrier began sea trials on 10 August 2011. While the carrier is most likely not state-of-the-art, it is one of many designs the Chinese have and are studying. Despite claims the as yet unnamed carrier is a research and training vessel, the Chinese implemented substantial security perimeters for the carrier as it departed on its sea trials.

One possible name for the Chinese carrier is Shi Lang, after the admiral who conquered Taiwan in 1681. That seems to give some credence to possible Chinese consideration to retake Taiwan by force or threat of force. As a result, Taiwan is very interested in China’s carrier program.

Chinese J-20 stealth fighter

China claims the carrier is for defensive purposes only. It will allow Chinese air power the ability to protect Chinese interests beyond the range of land-based aircraft. Having a carrier is also a matter of prestige for countries.

Nonetheless, northwest Asian countries are concerned about China’s carrier program. Japan and Vietnam have territorial disputes with China. And the Chinese plan more carriers according to a diplomatic source:

Based on the technological know-how gained from developing the Shi Lang, China will build two or three more conventional aircraft carriers and a nuclear-powered carrier.

Although not a significant threat to the US military, the Chinese buildup could threaten US interests and allies. China’s carrier is a game changer that bears close watching and strategic thinking.


1 Comment

  1. I really like your writing style, great information, thankyou for putting up : D.

    Comment by Mao Breece — Tue, 06 Sep 2011 @ 8:01 pm

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