News / Asia

China's Aircraft Carrier Returns from South China Sea Mission

FILE - Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning cruises back to port after its first navy sea trial in Dalian.
FILE - Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning cruises back to port after its first navy sea trial in Dalian.
VOA News
China's first aircraft carrier has returned to its home port after a series of training exercises in the South China Sea.

It was the Liaoning's first long-distance training mission since being commissioned last year, raising concerns in the West and several nations with territorial spats with the country about China's growing naval power.

The official Xinhua news agency said the refurbished Soviet carrier "underwent a comprehensive test of its combat system and conducted a formation practice."

Xinhua quoted unnamed naval sources as saying the 37-day trip "attained the anticipated objectives," and that all tests "went well as scheduled."

Zhang Zheng, the Liaoning's captain, reported that the mission went smoothly.

"We tried to integrate the test, training and combat of the aircraft carrier during this scientific research and training in the South China Sea. And we focused on the research of its safeguard and combat abilities," said Zhang.

The Liaoning was escorted by aircraft, warships and submarines that also participated in the tests.

On December 5, one of the Chinese warships escorting the Liaoning narrowly avoided colliding with a U.S. naval vessel. U.S. officials say the USS Cowpens was forced to take evasive action to avoid hitting the Chinese vessel.

Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel later said China acted in an "irresponsible" manner during the stand-off, which occurred as the U.S. ship monitored the Chinese carrier group in international waters.

Beijing, however, said it acted "in accordance with strict protocol," and suggested the U.S. ship had ignored warnings and come too close to the Chinese carrier.

Carl Thayer with Australia's University of New South Wales says the issue is that China "has a different interpretation of international law and what's permissible on the high seas or international waters."

Thayer told VOA that China should work with the U.S. to establish appropriate rules of behavior in intelligence gathering, much like Washington did with Moscow during the Cold War.

"This sort of intelligence gathering is stable when countries face each other and have nuclear weapons. I think that the Soviet Union and the United States appreciated that. And China.... has also got to learn to be a bit more sophisticated I think with how it's going to relate with the United States in military operations at sea to prevent these incidents," said Thayer.

Thayer also pointed out that Beijing is not seeking out clashes with the U.S., but that it hopes to use its growing naval strength to keep U.S. forces as far as possible from its mainland.

For its part, China has described the Liaoning's role as "experimental," and analysts agree its capabilities are limited.

Peter Dean of the Australian National University's Strategic and Defense Studies Center told VOA the carrier is only half the size of the United States' new Gerald Ford-class super carriers. However, he also noted that the carrier should be seen as representative of China's wider ambitions.

"It's linked to their trade and ability to exert more power around the region. And as one of the Chinese admirals recently said, aircraft carriers are what great powers have. And China very much sees itself as coming into this stage of its development as a great international power," explained Dean.

Many of China's neighbors are concerned about its rising status, and accuse it of being more aggressive in recent years in defending its maritime claims.

China's choice of the South China Sea as the location to conduct the Liaoning's first long-term training mission seemed to do little to calm those concerns, since Beijing has territorial disputes with several of its neighbors there.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
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.
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.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid