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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More