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. Paul in San Francisco

    The Chinese will destroy the US.

    December 15, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • GregHouse

      There won't be much left to destroy after another four years of Obama.

      December 15, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Bobby

      ...in mathematical ability

      December 15, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • NN

      Why in the world would they do that? They own the place.

      December 15, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Compass

      This is like someone bringing a classic GameBoy to a gaming convention.

      December 15, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Johnny

      Tetris is Russian!! You are on to something...

      December 15, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • reality

      China can't afford to destroy America. They have invested way too much into our economy. They need us to succeed on a certain level.

      December 15, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • umm.....sure

      with what? lead painted toys and black market nfl jerseys? get real.

      December 15, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Just so you know Paul.......the Chineese won't do it in the air or on the sea. The United States Navy is bigger than the next 17 largest Navies combined. Two.......The United States has the largest air force in the world. Who has the second? The United States Navy. The Chineese know this too. Only an idiot throws a punch when the outcome is obvious. Don't bother with the ground forces either. There won't be much left after the planes leave.

      December 15, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • IR Prof

      The irony is that we did this to ourselves, and continue to do so every time we buy products made by the PRC. Theirs is not a capitalist system, rather neo-mercantilism whereby the state organizes economic activity for its own benefit, not society's. The US consumer must finally do what US corporations and our elected officials refuse to do – seek our own economic wellbeing by refusing to buy Chinese products. It will undoubtedly hurt in the short-term, but we must return to a solid American manufacturing base, one with the environmental and labor standards the Chinese government refuses to implement to the peril of their hapless civilians. Boycott “Made in China”!

      December 15, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • US guy

      Chinese are already destroying the US by flooding the market with their cheap cra p . Also , Interesting – why did China sent commandos to check the fishing license" – lol. And why do they think people will buy the story.

      December 15, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • WJBrasky

      Let’s not get too excited this is the 1st ACC for China. We have had ACC’s sense WWII. I wouldn’t get too worried about a ship that was once being retro fitted as a floating casino. The U.S. Military has nothing to worry about.

      December 15, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • smartbomber

      A certain Senator from San Francisco is already doing a bang up job of that.

      December 15, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dan

    That carrier was obsolete when it was made and thirty years hasn't made it any better.

    December 15, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  3. SKinny g

    Another artificial reef waiting to be made..

    December 15, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  4. Topshot

    they will weaken us financially then move in with military might. This country scares me, but at least most Americans are armed and a land invasion by the chinese would fail. Just need to be aware of nuclear possibilities.

    December 15, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Joel

      A land invasion would work. One tank could kill an entire neighborhood. Regardless of how many rednecks shoot a tank, it doesn't destroy it. lol

      December 15, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • SteveInBoston

      @Joel: Most of the rednecks I've known would be able to make a pretty decent tank trap...

      December 15, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Joel

      Sh**... I meant to say wouldn't

      December 15, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • rocco

      unfortunately, I agree, we really do need to worry about China, Northa Korea, Iran, Russia and Pakistan! We lead the way in Humanity and Democracy. We have crap that goes on, but not road side bombs, slavery and human trafficking sickness that riddles the lands! Discusting!

      December 15, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Joel

      @SteveInBoston – I agree with you 100 percent. My relatives were from SC, all confederates on my Dad's side. LOL. Nothing I am proud of, nor do I normally announce, but I do understand the power of determined rednecks in small groups with lots of firepower. lol

      December 15, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  5. TomGI

    Same view as seen through a B2 bombsight.

    December 15, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      haha not after the bomb hits

      December 15, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  6. AL in West Palm Beach

    It might hurt the US, but if it weren't for the poor.

    I'd call on Congress to have the US refuse to pay it's debt to China...bankrupting it.

    You'd see an Occupy Hong-Kong, Shenshe, Taiwan in a few days

    December 15, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  7. Hudson

    go U.s. go u.s. dont let em stand a chance

    December 15, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  8. Dave in Canada

    Hey look – the Visigoths are coming over the hill...

    December 15, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  9. Joel

    Too bad it's made in China...and like everything made in China, it will fall apart. lol

    December 15, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Johnny

      Not to nitpick, but the 3rd sentence in the article says: "The Varyag was reportedly constructed by the USSR in the 1980s but fell into the hands of the Ukraine."

      December 15, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Md

      Love It!

      December 15, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • puchis

      Read the article it was made by the former USSR.

      December 15, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Joel

      I know, I read the article. I am just being a dick. lol

      December 15, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • sealteam deploy

      yes russia built it but as history is known russia's technology bites we have taken out their best with our avearage stuff, plus shina wouldnt stand a chance if it confronted us at sea.

      December 15, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  10. farcry228

    super another cold war. Cant wait 🙁

    December 15, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Joel

      Cold war?! But...we're feeling HOT HOT HOT!

      December 15, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. Scott Mansker

    The Chinese Spring will come eventually... best weapon system the US ever built was the internet.

    December 15, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  12. TL

    The USA is still the modern day roman empire and will be for a long time

    December 15, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Joel

      If by a long time you mean a few more years, then yeah, you're probably right.

      December 15, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • amphiox

      Given what we know ended up happening to Rome, not a comforting analogy.

      Not at all.

      December 15, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. City Wok

    HOW COME EREYTIME CHINANESE BUIRD A CALLIER, DAMN MONGRORIAN HAVE TO BREAK IT?

    December 15, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ozzie

    That would be one awesome casino.

    December 15, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  15. adam

    your all retarted. stop voting

    December 15, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Joel

      NO YOUR RETARTED.

      December 15, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • anon

      always funny when someone tries to insult everyone and show superior intelligence but misspells a word. comedy gold, Jerry.

      December 15, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
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