Satellite Captured Image of China’s Aircraft Carrier

DigitalGlobe Inc., a commercial satellite company, said Wednesday that it took a photograph of China’s first aircraft carrier during a sea trial in the Yellow Sea, off the Chinese coast. The Pentagon did not confirm the image, but Stephen Wood, the satellite company’s director, said he’s confident about the Dec. 8 photograph due to the carrier’s location.

Although China insists the carrier is intended for research and training, its use has raised concern about the country’s military strength and its increasingly assertive claims over disputed territory. While the development of carriers is driven largely by bragging rights and national prestige, China’s naval ambitions have been brought into focus with its claims to disputed territory surrounding Taiwan and in the South China Sea.

Taiwan, the self-governing island democracy claimed by China as its own, has responded to the growing Chinese threat by developing missiles capable of striking carriers at sea. An illustration at a display Wednesday of military technology in the capital Taipei showed a Hsiung Feng III missile hitting a carrier that was a dead ringer for the former Varyag.

Over the past year, China has seen a flare-up in spats with Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam and had its relations strained with South Korea — all of which have sought support from Washington, long the pre-eminent naval power in Asia.

China defends its carrier program by saying it is the only permanent member of the United Nations Security Council that has not developed such vessels and that it has a huge coastline and vast maritime assets to defend. Beijing has also said its carriers would be employed in international humanitarian efforts, although the ex-Varyag’s ski jump-style flight deck severely limits the loads its planes can carry.

 

Source: Fox News

Image: MSN

China’s President Tells Navy to Prepare for Combat

As tensions grow over local maritime disputes and U.S. influence in the South China Sea, China’s president Hu Jintao said Tuesday that its navy should “make extended preparations for military combat,” the AFP reported. He told the Central Military Commission its navy should modernize in the interest of national security.

China said it is considering an offer from the Seychelles to host Chinese naval ships in the Indian Ocean island nation, highlighting the increasing global reach of a navy that recently launched its first aircraft carrier.

China’s military expansion and strong assertions of claims to disputed territory have raised regional concerns, prompting many of China’s neighbors to strengthen ties with the U.S. military that has traditionally predominated in the Asia Pacific.

While Beijing has tried to assuage those concerns, it has also asserted its claims with patrols and other physical displays, and on Tuesday dispatched its largest coast guard cutter to the East China Sea. The 322-foot Haijian will visit Chinese rock outcroppings as well as a gas field claimed by China and Japan. There was no indication it planned to visit other islands that Japan controls but China claims.

George Little, a Pentagon spokesman, downplayed Hu’s comments, saying China has the right to develop its military, according to the report. But he went on to say China should be transparent in the process.

 

Source: Fox News

Image: AsiaOne.com