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
William Ide

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 For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

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.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid