China just admitted that they’ve been building an aircraft carrier–their first.
Then the General Staff, the highest body of China’s armed forces, glibly proceeds to say that the carrier would pose no threat to other nations.
Lt Gen Qi Jianguo, assistant chief of the general staff, told the Hong Kong Commercial Daily that even after the aircraft carrier was deployed, it would “definitely not sail to other countries’ territorial waters”
Well, how could it, since China’s claimed border brushes up to the Philippines! What a crock of shit that is. General Qi Jianguo’s explanation sounds sensible at first. “We won’t sail into the territorial waters of the Philippines.” And then we realize that’s because China claims as part of its territory all the sea up to the nearest 10 kilometers to our coast.
Not only does it brush up to the Philippines, it grazes Palawan.
And look at how it skirts right past Brunei and Malaysia.
There’s a lot more to this story.
China’s military is generally believed to be 20 years behind America’s in its development. But in its rapid expansion, China is focusing on weapons designed to blunt US military power.
The People’s Liberation Army (the name of China’s military) has invested heavily in submarines. It is believed to be close to deploying the world’s first “carrier-killer” ballistic missile, designed to sink aircraft carriers while they are manoeuvring at sea up to 1,500km (930 miles) offshore, and it is building its own stealth fighter aircraft along with advanced carrier-based aircraft built from Russian designs.
All of these can target US bases, US ships and US carriers in Asia. They will make it much more dangerous for US carrier fleets to operate close to China’s coast, pushing them out further offshore.
In any future conflict they could make it much harder for the US to operate as freely as it would like. That in turn opens up more room for China to flex its own military muscles in Asia.
Having an aircraft carrier will then enable China to project power further than it has before. So looking on with concern are Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia, who all have territorial disputes with Beijing in the South China Sea.
The Story behind the Spratlys
I’ll cover that next.
- China’s Military Tries to Reassure Wary Neighbors (globalspin.blogs.time.com)
- Tensions between China and Philippines rise over Spratly maritime borders (csmonitor.com)
- Philippines protests to China over oil rig plan (calgaryherald.com)
- Philippines to file new UN protest on China (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Philippines to bolster watch in disputed Spratlys (seattletimes.nwsource.com)