Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

The Significance of China’s First Aircraft Carrier [Epoch Times]

As China’s first aircraft carrier continues to indicate China’s strategic capacity and desires to defend its growing interests, the Epoch Times perhaps unsurprisingly, presents the case that China’s aircraft carrier is an object of/for domestic vanity and does not pose any threat in the short term to any country.

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The Significance of China’s First Aircraft Carrier
By Quincy Yu
Source – Epoch Times, published August 25, 2011

After an inaugural four-day trial at sea, China’s aircraft carrier returned to the mainland’s northeastern port of Dalian on Aug. 14. A reincarnation of the former Soviet carrier Varyag, it was acquired from Ukraine in 1998. The carrier is expected to be enlisted into the Chinese navy in August of next year, to be christened afterwards in October.

Communist mouthpieces Xinhua and CCTV were restrained in reporting the event, in sharp contrast to foreign media coverage. Photography failed to reveal any significant details, due to strategic concealment onboard. Some China experts commented that the communist regime’s launching of the revamped vessel carries more weight domestically than internationally.

China expert and commentator Wen Zhao told The Epoch Times that Beijing’s investing an exorbitant amount of taxpayers’ money in an aircraft carrier was intended to have more of an internal impact than an external one: to earn the praises of military fans and swell the hearts of nationalists.

Wen said that put in simple terms, compared with the impact of a nuclear submarine, an aircraft carrier appearing on the ocean’s surface would certainly impress people more and prove much more effective used as a nationalist totem.

New Tang Dynasty Television commentator Wu Fan said that the regime wants to have an aircraft carrier, even if it’s incapable of fighting in a battle.

“It treated the carrier like a vanity project to maintain the regime’s power and to satisfy the patriotic pride of some Communist Party members,” he said.

Wen believes that in the short term, the aircraft carrier will not pose any threat to neighboring countries.

He said that unlike the U.S. Navy, which has military bases all over the world and has the capacity to rapidly mobilize forces globally, China has no base or port that can be used by its navy and air force outside of mainland China.

Once there is a conflict in a region far from its homeland, without such reinforcement elsewhere, if any aircraft or ship incurs damage, it would useless, hence restricting the combat capability of the aircraft carrier.

So even after the expensive vessel is deemed seaworthy, Communist Party leaders will find that they won’t be able to use it to its full advantage.

Wen said that the aircraft carrier is part of an intricate system, deployed as just one component in a battle group; it requires long-term training and requires deep skills and experience; it also requires a complementary combat system with a complete set of advanced technology. With all such factors taken into account, a significant upgrading of the navy’s overall capabilities would be required.

He compared the construction of a Chinese aircraft carrier as analogous to that of a high-speed rail system. “Whether it concerns a country’s industrial or military development, the technical level cannot leap over many intermediate steps in a short period of time to reach a high level: that would be unrealistic.”

In addition, any weaponry must in the first place be something that is absolutely needed, and secondly be able to effectively achieve a clear military objective.

Wen concluded by saying that Chinese taxpayers therefore should not be made to foot the bill for a vanity project that demonstrates the Communist Party’s ‘rising military.’”

Netizen hdtv720p quipped that there is actually no need for Taiwan to worry about the carrier: as soon as “donated” money is raised for the Party to purchase another one, there is bound to be a rear-end collision in short order.


Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Economics, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, military, Modernisation, Nationalism, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, Varyag

One Response

  1. It will take China decades to learn how to effectively use its carrier. The US will maintain naval supremacy well into the 21st century.

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