News / Asia

    China's First Aircraft Carrier Begins Sea Trial

    Workers are seen on the flight deck of the China's first aircraft carrier, former 'Varyag' of Ukraine, which is under restoration at a shipyard in Dalian in northeastern China's Liaoning province, July 27, 2011
    Workers are seen on the flight deck of the China's first aircraft carrier, former 'Varyag' of Ukraine, which is under restoration at a shipyard in Dalian in northeastern China's Liaoning province, July 27, 2011

    China's first aircraft carrier set sail for the first time Wednesday, steaming out of the northeastern port of Dalian for a long-awaited sea trial. While the voyage of the ship, known here by its Russian name Varyag, is a source of national pride, it is also raising concerns among China's neighbors.

    In the late 1990s, China purchased the empty shell of the aircraft carrier from Ukraine. The vessel was built by the Soviet Union in the 1980s but ownership was transferred to Ukraine after the former communist government collapsed.

    Since then, it has been the source of much speculation and discussion in military circles and highly anticipated by military enthusiasts in China.

    For the past few weeks, Chinese state television and online military news websites have been following the ship's preparations on a daily basis.

    It became clear the voyage was close at hand when China's Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng spoke publicly about the ship for the first time late last month.

    At a routine monthly news conference, Geng confirmed China's plans to build a small number of aircraft carriers and offered assurances that Beijing's intentions are peaceful.

    "China will stick to the path of peaceful development and its independent foreign policy of peace together with the country's national defense policy," said Geng. "We have a long coastline and spacious sea areas under our jurisdiction. It is the responsibility of China's armed forces to protect the territorial sea and preserve sea sovereignty and maritime rights.”

    Geng said China is gathering opinions from many places to further the development of the aircraft carrier. He said the Varyag would be used for military training and scientific research.

    A defense Ministry statement Wednesday said the carrier will soon return to harbor for continued refitting and test work.

    Chinese officials have tried to downplay the significance of the carrier, but the ship has become a symbol of China's rising military power at a time of tension with several of its neighbors over competing maritime claims in the East and South China seas.

    Arthur Ding, a China military analyst at Taiwan's National Chengchi University says the sea trip is just a preliminary trial.

    “It's only I would say for the test to see if the whole structure of the ship is in good situation or not," said Ding. "It's not an operational test so I would say it's more on the psychological effect or [for what] we call domestic consumption.”

    With many in China anxiously anticipating the launch of an aircraft carrier program, Ding says the trial will help to satisfy the public's desire to see the country meeting that milestone. Chinese state media frequently mention that China is the only member of the United Nations Security Council that does not have an aircraft carrier.

    Ding adds that it is not surprising that Chinese officials are playing down the trial run for fear of alienating other countries in the region.

    “I think China they know it's better for them to keep a low profile, so we need to see how the neighboring countries perceive that, but there no doubt that in the long term everybody expects that China has ambition to be a blue water navy, but it will take a tremendous time yet.”

    Military analysts in China say it could take several more years to have the carrier fully operational and more than two decades to build an aircraft carrier program.

    Most military analysts and commentators in China say the country eventually will need at least three aircraft carriers - one to continually be at sea, another in port for repairs and a third for training.

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora