U.S. satellite firm says it has first image of Chinese aircraft carrier
Digital Globe released this satellite image Wednesday, showing what it says is the first look at the Chinese aircraft carrier Varyag.
December 15th, 2011
10:49 AM ET

U.S. satellite firm says it has first image of Chinese aircraft carrier

A photograph of what is purported to be China’s first aircraft carrier has renewed speculation about its military intentions, according to news reports.

U.S. satellite imaging firm Digital Globe said Wednesday on its website that it had captured an image that appears to be the Chinese aircraft carrier Varyag during drills in the Yellow Sea.

The Varyag was reportedly constructed by the USSR in the 1980s but fell into the hands of the Ukraine. The Chinese purchased it sans weapons and navigation systems under the guise of wanting to turn the vessel into a casino, according to a BBC report in August.

Huntsman: China is 'no ally' of the U.S.

The sea trial is the second for the aircraft carrier, which roused international interest on November 29 when it left the port of Dalian in the Yellow Sea. Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said at the time that the military exercises were a "routine arrangement," Xinhua reported.

The sea drills are seen as a running display of military might for the Asian nation and come amid several recent high-profile provocations at sea.

Earlier this week the Yellow Sea was the site of a confrontation that resulted in a South Korean coast guard commando being stabbed to death and another injured after they boarded a Chinese fishing vessel they suspected of fishing illegally, CNN reported.

Recent military exercises there have raised awareness of Chinese aspirations in the face of the American naval presence in the region, experts say.

"By itself, the ship does not erode the credibility of America's military presence in the region nor greatly increase China's power projection capabilities. Nevertheless, the vessel is a potent symbol of China's aspirations to become a global maritime power and is yet another indication that the military balance of power is gradually shifting in China's favor," Dr. Ian Storey, of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, told the Guardian newspaper.

Last month the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review, presented annually to Congress, gave fresh warnings that China was conducting sea trials of its first aircraft carrier and developing anti-ship ballistic missiles.

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Filed under: China • Politics • World
soundoff (510 Responses)
  1. sftommy

    China is good at "acquiring" foreign technology but notoriously bad about understanding or maintaining what they get.

    March 14, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Chauhan

    Beth Grant Posted on Hey, I think this is really cool. I love the posts you make on iffderent things you blame Lupus for. It is a funny side of blaming stray things on Lupus. Thanks for sharing.

    April 22, 2012 at 5:55 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Samantha

    Jeremy Siegel . if he is right . Tha we will economic boom after the blouiat and standard of living in USA will skyrocket WHo needs savings spend all you got That will bring everlasting happines

    April 24, 2012 at 4:15 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Robert

    It's a copy of an American ACC. The Chinese reverse engineer everything because they are to primitive to come up with anything original. Even their language still uses hieroglyphics.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Andrew

      @Robert: This carrier is not a copy of an American ACC, nor is it even a copy. It's a SOVIET carrier that's been gutted and rebuilt. Try actually reading the article next time, you racist simpleton.

      July 12, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bubba North

    It looks pretty cool from the picture. No reason China can't have one. They would do better spending their money on space, they already seem to be ahead of everyone there.

    July 12, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse | Reply
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