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. Cizzler

    Nice old POS.

    January 8, 2012 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jonny C

    Baby steps here with the old Minsk. Supercarrier alleged to to be abuilding, but first the need to learn the remarkably complex feat of fielding a useful air wing. We should be respectful, but not afraid. Yet.

    January 9, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. letgoofmyears

    "the military balance of power is gradually shifting in China's favor"

    Why? Because they have ONE 30 year old carrier that will undoubtedly be full of Chinese electronics and armaments? I doubt it lasts the full 90 day warranty.

    January 9, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • M. Edward

      I agree that their is no immediate concern about China's loan carrier, however I would not dismiss their ability to build quality electronics. Especially since most of the technology was stolen from us. We as Americans would be wise to support people like Jon Huntsman, a man who understands the language and thinking of what will be, if it isn't already, our most potent military threat. Buy American & Canadian products!

      January 11, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • capnmike

      Your HOME is undoubtedly full of Chinese-made garbage...you and all Americans who buy this plastic crap are financing them.

      March 12, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • derka derka

      Agreed, great article on this too in another tab. We really have to stop financing this idiocy and start thinking about turning the tables back in our favor, I really don't get it either, because ya go on something like FB and after all the BS you hear of people wanting to change and stop buying cheap junk, and buy American, help the economy, spread the wealth, there they are, "liking" the all too familiar corporations if you will that promote outsourcing, cheap labor, and bad products. It's enough to make your head explode really. Left or Right. In fact, some of the most extreme indulge, it just makes zero sense in the end, what the hell are we doing to ourselves? I agree, we need to cut the sh!t.

      March 13, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  4. bud

    send tebow to kick their butts lol

    January 11, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  5. carlos

    I'm not surprise the Chinese idea of the world is that they are very smart and the rest of us is stupid. This is a country that can not be trust. They want to dominate the world and it's all on us to stop thinking they are friendly. They will be making a move very soon to dominate Asia.
    The past 15 years they have invested billions of dollars in the army and they don't care that it's on people is dying from hanger. We needed to put a stop of buying goods produce in China this is a evil country!!!

    January 11, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • lilwayne

      sorry...cannot be "trust", people dying from "hanger"? which part of the country are YOU from? i guess compared to you, the Chinese people aren't so stupid after all...

      January 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • ronniq

      From US point of view, you may be right.
      From overall (larger) point of view, you are an idxxiot

      March 12, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • derka derka


      March 13, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  6. Premier

    A single carrier does not equate to a global naval power. It will take decades to project power.

    January 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mk54

    A carrier is only as good as it's crew and especially, it's pilots.

    January 13, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. brian

    i'm not worried about it... like everything the chinese make, it'll kill anything it comes into contact with... remember the kid's toys with lead paint? or what about the cat/dog food? i know they didn't originally build it, but i'm not worried that they won't find some manner in which to kill their own people... maybe rat food poisoning in an attempt to protect the onboard rice... who knows?!@

    January 13, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dave

    one carrier, big deal, we have 60 carriers of different sizes, if they plan on ruling the seas we own, their goi8ng to have to take us out, and the lat country that tried to do that, ended up getting nuked...twice

    February 17, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred Chase

      Dave, the number of US carriers is closer to a dozen.

      March 12, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • ronniq

      So do you expect them to magically come up with dozen carriers all at once, you idxxioxt
      Do you know how much money the chinese have to ramp this up going forward.
      They own your ass (and mine too)

      March 12, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jeff Lebowski

    still says made in China on the bottom.

    March 12, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jimijoni`

    The only thing worse than "Made in China" is "Made in the USSR". Surprised it actually floats!

    March 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Piranha

    That carrier is no threat at all, the chinese will convert it to a floating casino and brothel , make mo money that way.

    March 12, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. capnmike

    The Chinese wouldn't have the money to build aircraft carriers, or much of anything else, if stupid Americans weren't gobbling up all the cheap crap our own profit-gouging companies put in the stores with the abetting of the crooked politicians who give them tax breaks and drop tariffs. DON'T BUY CHINESE MADE TRASH! Look at the label! If it says "Made in China" put it back on the shelf. US-made products cost a bit more, but keep the jobs HERE, and the money here too!

    March 12, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bill

    Military power shifting in China's favor? Compared to the US military that is like saying Bob;s General Store, in a one horse town, global sales market share is shifting in its favor.

    March 13, 2012 at 7:08 am | Report abuse |
  15. Way to go America!

    Paid for by Wal-Mart dollars!

    March 13, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
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