News / Asia

Analysts: China Aircraft Carrier Landing Poses No Direct Threat

Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning cruises back to a port after its first navy sea trial in Dalian, in northeastern China's Liaoning province, October 30, 2012.
Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning cruises back to a port after its first navy sea trial in Dalian, in northeastern China's Liaoning province, October 30, 2012.
Purnell Murdock
Western analysts say China's recent landing of a Russian designed fighter jet on an aircraft carrier, though significant, poses no immediate regional or international security threats.

In reports published Sunday, China's state-run news agencies said the navy landed several Chinese-made J-15 jets on the carrier Liaoning in the past week. The reports said the warplanes also took off successfully.

Chinese military analysts described the daytime landings and take-offs as a "landmark" in the navy's efforts to develop the combat capability of the Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier.

Bonnie Glaser, senior Asia Adviser at the Washington D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, told VOA while this is a significant achievement for China, it needs to be put in perspective.

"The landing took place in good weather and it took place in the daytime.  It is significantly more difficult to land an aircraft on a carrier at night and in bad weather."

The China Daily quoted a military researcher as saying it will take at least two years for the J-15s to become fully operational.  He also predicted the Liaoning will need four to five years to achieve full combat capability.

Asia security analyst Michael McKinley of the Australian National University told VOA the landing and takeoff event represents China's infancy in naval aviation and is a long process of gaining operational confidence.

"It's not significant in terms of current or even short-term naval capabilities.  China is a long way off of being able to project and deploy significant naval aviation power beyond its coastal fringe."

The plane

The J-15 warplane is described as a multi-purpose carrier-born fighter jet based on Russia's Sukhoi 33 fighter jet, equipped with Russian engines and capable of carrying precision-guided bombs.  McKinley says despite the warplane's capabilities, the deployment on the aircraft carrier does not, now, pose a global security risk.

"What would be threatening is if China changed its political and maritime strategies to an aggressive posture.  And that would require the presence of several aircraft carriers capable of deploying quite a long way into the Indian Ocean and off the coast of Africa.  At the moment, and for the foreseeable future, any Chinese maritime air capability deployed at sea is going to be hostage to a great many vulnerabilities, not the least being the United States navy itself."

Glaser says while the aircraft carrier does not pose an imminent threat to the United States, it could negatively affect U.S. interests in the region.

"Potentially it could be used in the crisis in the South China Sea.  It could be used against its neighbors. I think that would worry the United States. It could potentially negatively affect American interests.  But it doesn't pose a direct threat to U.S. forces or the continental U.S."

Back story

China bought the vessel as an unfinished Soviet aircraft carrier from Ukraine in 1998 and spent years refurbishing it.  The Liaoning entered military service on September 25.  Beijing has been expanding its military capabilities while also making increasingly assertive claims to disputed maritime territories.  Those claims have caused growing concern in some of China's neighbor countries.

Glaser says China understands it has to maintain good relations with its neighbors and will have to do more to meet regional concerns.  But she told VOA Beijing is walking a fine line between protecting what it perceive as its interests and easing the concerns of its neighbors.

"If they emphasize their military capabilities, such as potentially deploying an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea, then that will certainly be counter-productive."


Additional reporting by Victor Beattie in Washington D.C.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid