Wednesday, 13 February, 2008

Building of aircraft carrier owned to strategic needs

Senior colonel researcher Li Jie, who is majored in global naval defense affairs, said that if China needs aircraft carriers, advances or breakthroughs will surely be made in this regard. He gave this remark while he was refuting the so-call "aircraft carrier threat."

Speculation with "China's aircraft carrier threat" still going on overseas

A couple of overseas media and scholars abroad have speculated on the same popular topic concerning China's aircraft carriers. In late March, a media unit in South Korea once again troted out the "aircraft career threat" theory with a reportage that China is expected to build a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier of the 90000-ton class and will go into service in 2020.

As a matter of fact, such allegations on Chinese aircraft carriers have emerged repeatedly from the beginning of 2006.

To date, Senior Colonel Li Jie, an ace researcher with the Institute of Naval Military Affairs in China, has clarified the subject in his interview with the China Central Television or known popularly as CCTV.

Some allegations on the "aircraft carrier threat" theory are based solely on the "Minsk" and "Kiev" carriers anchored offshore respectively in south China's Shenzhen city and the industrial and business city of Tianjin in north China, the two decommissioned aircraft carriers China had purchased are currently for travelers to visit at scenic sites. Meanwhile, a defense affairs journal in Canada went so far as to hype a cement-structured facility modeled on the carrier vessel in an outlying Shanghai park, and took it as an evidence to prove China is currently building its own aircraft carriers.

"Cement Vessel" does not have any military value

The most eccentric, absurd assertion is a "cement aircraft carrier" or simply a concrete-made vessel constructed on the picturesque"Dianshan Lake" in the outlying Qingpu district on outskirts of Shanghai, which was erected solely for sightseers.

China is said to finish building three 60000-ton aircraft carriers by 2016, and this is simply an out-and-out fantastic story! First, it is out and out impossible for China to build three such vessels of 60,000 to 90,000 tons within a span of nine years. And it will take at least about 5 billion US dollars to build such a large-size aircraft carrier. Let alone the costf for an aircraft fleet carried by the vessel.

If the costs for maintaining the relevant facilities, for the training and living allowance of the crew and the formation of carriers are included, such a carrier would cost anywhere from 17 billion to 18 billion dollars in the United States. And the total spending is almost unbearable or unthinkable for an ordinary country.

It is up to China to decide whether or not it will build aircraft carrier

Media from overseas concocted the "China threat theory" with respect to the Chinese aircraft carrier topic and kept stepping up and upgrading the assertion. Then, what is the aim of the overseas media in peddling China's "carrier threat" theory?

With its rise and vigorous development, quite a few personages feel fearful whenever China makes any move, and they will proceed to contain, intercept and besiege it. Moreover, they have a psychology to curb its development, Li acknowledged. Furthermore, some countries very much want to have a hypothetical foe to serve as a target for their attack in times of war, he added. Then, they can ask Congress or other institutions concerned for more money to beef up their national war capacity.

The speculation in such promotions will not produce any negative effect on the part of China, as it has its own strategic thinking and correct policy alignment. What weaponry China wants to develop and what road it wants to take will all be decided by China itself. In developing any type of weapon, China has to take into account its own specific national conditions. The first and foremost is economic strength, that is, whether the overall national strength has ascended to such a level. The second is whether its science and technologies can match the norms with which to build carrier vessels. And the last but not the least is whether China is in need of such carriers from its strategic point of view.

To date, China is capable of building aircraft carrier, Huang Qiang, a spokesman for the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense of China (CSTIND), was quoted as saying. Furthermore, Zhang Yunchuan, the CSTIND chairman, said in March 2007 that China was doing researches for the building of aircraft carriers through its self-reliant efforts. "China stands for strategic active defense and, even when it owns aircraft carriers, it will definitely not intrude into or occupy any other nation or resort to force with the use of carrier vessel," Zhang said.

"Personally, I say China should have aircraft carriers"

Li Jie, also a noted researcher with the Institute of Naval Military Academy, told reporters in an interview with them that he personally deemed China was entitled to own aircraft carriers, which not only symbolize the image of a nation but demonstrate a mighty, deterrent force. A brief account of his interview reads as follows:

Q: Do you feel China should own aircraft carriers personally as you have been carrying out researches with regard to the naval military issue for so many years?

Li: As far as I'm concerned, I feel China should own carrier vessel. To build an aircraft carrier is not merely an "aircraft carrier" issue but poses an image of a nation, apart from producing a tremendous deterrent.

Q. In addition to attention from worlwide, a debate has been going on at home whether China should build aircraft carrier. What faction are you in favor of and do you know the view of the opposing faction?

Li: One is the problem technologically, and possibly not so far been attainable in technology.

Q. Is China capable to make the best and first-rate aircraft carriers? And this is the second point.

Li: Another issue is the ratio of efficiency to costs. In the words of ordinary citizens, "the loss somewhat outweighs the gain." In other words, you've spent so much but it is not so useful.

Q. What will you say to those who have spread so many absurdities on China's carrier vessels, if they come to talk to you?

Li: I'll scathingly refute their nonsense point by point.

Q. Once China has its own aircraft carrier, will the threat theory be more serious?

Li: China has a set objective as we have just mentioned, and we do not care what others might say.

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