Our favorite behemoth – China – has launched its first aircraft carrier, the vessels maiden voyage, a step likely to boost patriotic pride at home and serious jitters abroad, as Beijing naval ambitions grow. The long-awaited debut of the vessel, a refitted former Soviet vessel the 990-foot, 60,000-tonne Varyag.
The completion and launch of the vessel marks a serious step forward in China’s long-term plan to build a carrier force that can easily launch into the Asian region. The United States has 11 aircraft carriers, but only a handful of other nations, Britain, France, Italy and Russia have carriers, and of those, none have more than a few. The launch of the aircraft carrier presents a large concern for the United States Government, who have voiced apprehension at the buildup of Chinese naval power and the effect this will have on the balance of power across the Taiwan Strait.
The Communist Party views Taiwan as a rebel province that must be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary. The United States Government has said it may come to Taiwan’s defense in the event of hostilities with China. In October, the Pentagon announced the sale of $6 billion of advanced weapons to Taiwan, a move that prompted criticism from China. The United States regularly sells arms to Taiwan, and China has long denounced the sales :: Read the full article »»»»