News / Asia

Chinese Aircraft Carrier Begins First Sea Trial

The 300-meter former Soviet carrier, originally called the Varyag, as she is overhauled in the northeast port of Dalian, northwest China's Liaoning province on July 4, 2011.
The 300-meter former Soviet carrier, originally called the Varyag, as she is overhauled in the northeast port of Dalian, northwest China's Liaoning province on July 4, 2011.

China's first aircraft carrier steamed out of Dalian harbor for a sea trial Wednesday, providing a burst of national pride for China's people but a source of concern for many of its neighbors.

The short voyage by the refitted Ukrainian carrier ends weeks of speculation about the date of the vessel's initial sea trial. A defense Ministry statement said the carrier, formerly known as the Varyag, would soon return to harbor for continued refit and test work.

Chinese officials have downplayed the significance of the carrier, saying it will be used for scientific research, experiments and training. 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.

For Chinese, the long anticipated launch has sparked a wave of interest in aircraft carriers. The official Xinhua news agency on Wednesday carried photos of other nations' carriers in a front-page space normally reserved for publicity shots of Hollywood starlets.

A day earlier it featured photos of another Soviet-era carrier which is being converted to a hotel in the port city of Tianjin, near Beijing.

The sea trial had been widely expected to take place on July 1 to coincide with the 90th anniversary of the founding of China's Communist Party. But Wednesday's brief defense ministry statement said the timing is in line with the schedule of the refit and will "not take a long time."

The stripped-down hull of the Varyag was purchased from Ukraine and towed to a shipyard in Dalian in 1998. China is expected to use knowledge gained from the process to build at least three more carriers.

Ministry spokesmen say that despite its carrier program, China remains committed to a naval strategy of defending its own shores. But some of China's neighbors worry the new vessel could be deployed as part of a battle group to project Chinese power in disputed areas including the South China Sea.

The ministry has also said the process of training pilots how to fly planes off an aircraft carrier is "in progress."

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid