First China aircraft carrier sea trial 'next week' | Global News

First China aircraft carrier sea trial ‘next week’

/ 06:01 PM June 21, 2011

China's first aircraft carrier is under restoration in a shipyard in Dalian in northeastern China's Liaoning province. AP File Photo

HONG KONG—China’s first aircraft carrier—a remodelled Soviet-era vessel—will go on sea trials next week, a report said Tuesday, amid escalating tensions in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

China’s top military official reportedly confirmed earlier this month that Beijing is building a huge aircraft carrier, the first acknowledgement of the ship’s existence from China’s secretive defense program.


On Tuesday, the Hong Kong Commercial Daily, which broke the story of the vessel’s confirmation, quoted unnamed military sources saying the carrier will go on sea trials on July 1 but will not be officially launched until October.

The sources said the test has been expedited in view of rising tensions in the South China Sea—home to two potentially oil-rich archipelagos, the Paracels and Spratlys—in recent weeks.


China’s military “hopes it will show the strength of the Chinese maritime forces to deter other nations which are eyeing the South China Sea in order to calm tensions,” the sources said.

They added that the sea trial date was also picked to mark the 90th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, but noted that factors such as weather could affect the planned test run.

China’s military did not immediately respond to an Agence France-Presse request for comment.

Tensions between Beijing and other rival claimants to the strategically vital West Philippine Sea have heightened recently.

The Philippines and Vietnam in particular have expressed alarm at what they say are increasingly aggressive actions by China in the disputed waters, but Beijing has insisted it is committed to resolving the issue peacefully.

Chinese officials have previously said its first aircraft carrier would not pose a threat to other nations, in accordance with Beijing’s defensive military strategy.

The Chinese aircraft carrier plan was confirmed when the chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army, Chen Bingde confirmed the ship’s existence in an interview with the Hong Kong paper.


He said the 300 meter (990-foot) former Soviet carrier, originally called the Varyag, was being overhauled. The ship is currently based in the northeast port of Dalian.

An expert on China’s military has reportedly said the carrier would be used for training and as a model for a future indigenously-built ship.

The Varyag was originally built for the Soviet navy but construction was interrupted by the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The PLA—the largest army in the world—is hugely secretive about its defense programs, which benefit from a large military budget boosted by the nation’s runaway economic growth.

Subscribe to our global nation newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: China, Defense, Diplomacy, Foreign affairs, Military, Philippines, South China Sea, Spratly Islands, Spratlys, Vietnam, West Philippine Sea
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our global news

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

© Copyright 1997-2021 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.