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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid