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.

Post by:
Filed under: China • Politics • World
soundoff (510 Responses)
  1. ElSid

    Only US is allowed to have aircraft carriers! How dare the Chinese build a carrier! What are their intentions? These godless communists!

    December 15, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Liddell

    They're building simulated carrier decks on land to train their pilots.

    December 15, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mountainman

    Has China ever invented anything other than gun powder?

    December 15, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tanker

      The fire drill?

      December 15, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      Paper ... printing ... the Compass ... the fork ... the coffin ... noodles ...
      ya know, silly stuff

      December 15, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. The Real Bristol Palin

    First, the meteoric rise of their economy. Next, the equally quick rise of their military. Paid for and made possible by the GOP. Just remember, a vote for a republican is a vote against yourself.

    December 15, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. kc_and_fa

    I think its just a misunderstanding caused by a bad translation from one language to the next.. It is a casino. They are betting the house on whether or not it makes it to its home port the first time it is used in a hostile or threatening manner. Good luck boys!

    December 15, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tanker

      I like the house's odds on that bet...

      December 15, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tanker

    How are the Chinese going to man a carrier if they don't pay their sailors enough to "enjoy themselves" in foreign ports?

    I mean, thats what keeps US carriers manned and battle ready....

    December 15, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • ElSid

      They relieve themselves in their cabins with Brittany Spears pictures

      December 15, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Michael

    Ummm...why exactly does anyone think China would want to fight America?
    It's so funny that American's FREAK OUT when another country decides to do the exact same thing that we do all the time. We have tons of aircraft carriers throughout the world.
    Just because another country has one means nothing unless we become so afraid of them that we start something. Just because America is the type of country that fights wars for no good reason (Iraq, Vietnam) doesn't mean that other countries will do the same as us.

    China has every right in the world just like we do to have ships like that. Grow up scaredy cat Americans.

    December 15, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • newsreel

      I don't see any post saying china is against america on this. The article certainly did not say so either. It's just news, this si china's first, so they talk about it. China certainly ahs right to do so, and their immediate goal is not against america, but definitely, they are trying to show their muscle around their neighbourhood, where a lot of resources (oil) are at stake and are CURRENTLY IN DISPUTE by several nations in tha area. I hope this clear things up for ya...

      December 15, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • nightsun2k7

      Very well put.

      December 15, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tanker

    The Chinese launch a 30 year old surplus Russian carrier:

    The US Navy demands 4 more Nimitz class carriers and support ships to counter the "threat"

    Russia offers to sell China 30 year old aircraft to go with their carrier

    North Korea announced that the Dear Leader is personally building a carrier out of popcile sticks.

    France surrenders.

    December 15, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wrangler

      Thank you! That made my day.

      December 15, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • editboy

      you should be on the stage-the next one out of town. hell of a yuck, tanker.

      December 15, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • cliff

      this ship is 29 feet shorter an our Nimitz class, they have more building of about the same length, number 3-5 are thought be planned to have nuk power... google it.... they don't have aircraft to operate..wrong look up the su-33 and j-15, also mig 29K's can be had. some poeple like to live with there head in the sand. if you want to say up with the real world have an open mind and the ablity to read/undersand.... we have 11 carriers, 1 building, 1 will leave service do to age leaving the US with 10 of those 3 are in drydock at anyone time due to age (it takes the US 3-5 years to build one) china has a histroy of makeing large ships fast... again google it.....try picking up the brit Jane's or airforce monthly.. it will fix your intel gaps

      December 15, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Iranzuela

    I wonder if your media darling dynamic duo of evilness has spied this Chinese junk. And really folks. China can and does kick your ass economically. Obviously it's only a matter of time before they can afford the mightiest military.

    December 15, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. hhi

    The thing is 30 plus years old.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Aliat

    Ahh the "Thought-Police Filter...." Anything that bespoke ill of the Chinese Gov. and is not America-Bashing would automatically be filtered out...Oh wait, thats over there! I thought I was talking about here in America, damn after awhile, it seems to not matter since they are both one and the same. So much for Liberty.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Aliat

    Michael, in 3 word summary; Military-Industrial-Complex. We need to make the masses believe that 1 silly aircraft carrier is a threat so that while the GOP makes China today as the perceived threat, they then have the excuse to have Defense Appropriations Bills that enlarge our military ten-fold.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tim

    China is the next super power. I know that right now most people here in America prefer not believe it, but it is true. They are smart, and they're hungry for becoming a major world power. They already provide a much better education to their students in math and science. Far ahead of US. Now, if they just play the game right, and start sucking up the brain power of the world, just like the US has been doing, then they are on their way to world domination. The brains of the world are not as attracted to US as they used to be. More and more scientists and PhDs are moving to China and India, attracted by fat salary offers. What? You, the average american Joe thought that it is the kind like you that made America great? Lol! No! It was all the brain power that was pouring into US for all these years. US sucked up all the brains of the world like a vacuum cleaner. Thats the reason for the technological and scientific rise of US. That is changing unfortunately.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tanker

      Yeah, sure.

      All China needs is about ten carriers the size of the one they have, 40 cruisers, 160 destroyers, 40 submarines, 400 carrier capable aircraft, 1200 carrier trained pilots, and several thousand naval offices and senior NCO's with blue water/carrier ops/surface combat experience.

      You can buy all that K-Mart for $39.95

      December 15, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Aliat

    It also helps to alienate Asians, particularly Chinese, regardless of them being Asian-Americans so that the American people would be numbed down to a point in which putting Asians in places like we did during World War 2 would be justified.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Aliat

    Watch. When we DO go to war with China, history WILL repeat itself, you will once again see places full of Asians that will be labeled as potential threats and such. You'll see, and you won't do anything about it either. And every American would sing patriotic songs and defend such actions because by that time, they would think its Justified cause they got brainwashed against them. History will repeat itself because not that no one listened the first time, but because everyone stopped listening after a time.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18