Speculation of 2nd aircraft carrier unwanted but expected

By Sun Xiaobo Source:Global Times Published: 2015-2-1 23:38:01

Eagle-eyed Net users spotted that during the weekend, the local government in Changzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province, had sent out a message on Sina Weibo that seemed to contain more information than perhaps it should have.

The message said that in 2015, the city will focus on promoting some major programs, including the Jiangsu Shangshang Cable Group, which had won a contract to supply equipment for China's second aircraft carrier. Similar information was also released in a Saturday report on Changzhou Evening News, although the post has since been deleted.

With China's rise, information about its developing maritime strength, and in particular, that connected to aircraft carriers has always attracted wide attention. Since China put its first carrier, the Liaoning, into service, there has been constant speculation as to when the second would be launched.

According to international practices, a big power needs at least three aircraft carriers to be used for duty service, training and maintenance.

There is still no official confirmation from the military side. However, the news is long-expected, since China is entitled to build more aircraft carriers. China is now the world's second-largest economy, but its only flattop is a training ship rebuilt from an ex-Soviet aircraft carrier that was commissioned into the Chinese navy on September 25, 2012. This is no match to the country's economic strength.

In this regard, China has lagged far behind its neighbor India, not to mention developed countries.

India now operates two aircraft carriers, one from the UK and the other from Russia. The third, an Indian-built vessel, was launched in August 2013 and will be completed in 2018.

In recent years, China has faced Western-backed provocations from neighboring countries over disputes in both the East and South China seas, which entails a stronger military deterrence to safeguard its national security.

Although in modern times, direct military confrontation is not the foremost option countries will take in the event of conflicts, an aircraft carrier remains a powerful tool with an effective deterrent effect. It enables China to be more active and flexible in making strategic choices.

The intention of peace has to be backed by military power which is equal to the task. Foreign reports often question an increasingly "assertive" China, but in a country that has long adhered to defensive strategy and has been proved to seek peace and harmony, China's pursuit of an aircraft carrier is intended to deal with provocations, not to threaten anyone else.

Posted in: Observer

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