Source:Global Times Published: 2016/12/28 23:48:39
The Liaoning aircraft carrier, as a part of a fleet, entered the South China Sea via the West Pacific while conducting military drills. Its moves have received particular attention from the US, Japan and Taiwan. Some analysts decried the Liaoning's voyage, and others showed contempt for the vessel after comparing it with US aircraft carriers.
The Liaoning is used for scientific research and in preparation for wholly Chinese-made aircraft carriers which are under construction. China has a long way to go in building up its own carrier defense. In at least half a century's time, China will not stop building up its defense. It is clear that in the 21st century, China's rise has become the new normal.
Some external forces may believe that it is better to face-off with China sooner rather than later. However, as China is a nuclear power, confronting it is risky, which confounds and makes these forces apprehensive.
In the years to come, China may well be dragged into war in offshore regions, but at these distances, the role of an aircraft carrier is not decisive. Meanwhile, China has no intention to have a showdown with US aircraft carriers in deep sea waters.
But China's carriers will sail further for sure. They will sail beyond the first or even the second island chain. Aircraft carriers are a tool to showcase China's determination to safeguard its maritime rights.
The Pacific Ocean is not exclusive to any single country and no country should flex its muscles on China's doorstep to propagate its so-called freedom of navigation. As missile technologies advance, aircraft carriers are not the last bargaining chip between big powers. If China and the US bombard and sink each other's aircraft carriers, another world war will break out.
China's missile technologies rank among the world's most advanced. Its aircraft carrier is also supported by powerful systems. No matter whether it is the Xian H-6 nuclear bombers flying around Taiwan or aircraft carrier passing near the island's coastline, they showcase the Chinese mainland's dominating defense capabilities over the Taiwan Straits.
Chinese aircraft carriers will not take the initiative to strike Japan or snatch the Diaoyu Islands. China hopes for a peaceful East China Sea rather than making it into a battleground. If Japan wants to seize the last chance to contend with China, it will realize how China's defense expenditure, which is almost four times of that of Japan, works.
China has become one of the most powerful countries in the West Pacific, but it does not ask for more rights. China's core interests have not expanded, and it is open to negotiations for all disputes.
China will not confront the US-Japan alliance in deep sea waters, while the two shall never challenge the bottom line of China's core interests. China will deal a heavy blow to those who act wantonly in its near sea areas.
If US warships continue to patrol in sensitive South China Sea waters or close to China's coastlines, China's Liaoning can first approach the territorial waters of US allies in the Asia-Pacific. It tests the wisdom and courage of the Chinese military and strategists to utilize the Liaoning and the upcoming Chinese-made aircraft carriers.