Is China Building Another Aircraft Carrier?
may show China’s second aircraft carrier under construction. If this story checks out, it would be China’s first homemade carrier. Analysts speculate that such a carrier would be outfitted with a catapult-launch system, rather than the “ski jump” used by its current carrier, the Liaoning (pictured above).The Liaoning isn’t much of a threat to the US Navy. Further, this second carrier, if that’s what the pictures really show, would not be launch-ready for years and would still rank far behind the capabilities of current US carriers. But it would nevertheless be a clear sign that China’s is intently focused on building up its navy and eventually becoming Asia’s supreme maritime power.“The oceans and seas have an increasingly important strategic status concerning global competition in the spheres of politics, economic development, military, and technology,” Chinese state media reported yesterday. “China’s maritime cause has generally entered the best period of development after years of efforts,” President Xi Jinping proudly declared recently. After Chinese ships circumvented the entire Japanese archipelago last weekend, the state-run China Daily newspaper proclaimed that China’s navy is “capable of sending and supporting its warships to navigate and fight in channels far from the continent.”The Game of Thrones in Asia is a struggle which is increasingly being fought at sea. Beijing is still far behind the dominant naval power in Asia, the US Navy, but a couple of aircraft carriers and new maritime patrol vessels would be quite enough to bully and intimidate China’s weaker neighbors.[Image of the incomplete vessel that would later be relaunched as China’s first aircraft carrier Liaoning, courtesy Wikimedia]