Posted By RichC on August 10, 2011
Perhaps China adding their first aircraft carrier is just a sign of the times, but I see the modernization of China’s military as an unsettling long term move; call me distrustful considering their original statements and China’s questionable authoritarian government’s history.
A Chinese company purchased the empty hull of a carrier called the Varyag from Ukraine in 1998 on the understanding that it would be used as a floating casino, but it was later towed to Dalian via the Black Sea, the Mediterranean and the Straits of Malacca.
China officially acknowledged only last month that it was refurbishing the vessel, and tried to ease regional concerns by saying it would be used for "research, experiments and training" and would take a long time to become fully operational.
That aside, experts have said that China is a long way from matching naval airpowers of the world when it comes to a threat to the US. They can use it or an eventual “operational carrier group” to better control the Asian waters where they have recently had disputes over territorial claims. For now their adding a first aircraft carrier may just be a symbolic step … but defense experts say that a shipyard in Shanghai already have other “indigenous carriers” under construction “which could be launched by 2015.”