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. aMERICAN

    One or 2 well placed torpedos from one of our subs will sink that ship and everything aboard it. The way the Han Chinese win their battles is by sheer numbers. Look at how the Han Chinese have gone into places in their own country where they are not the majority ethnic group to suddenly become the majority and essentially commit genocide. SO lets allow them to give aid to their neighbors like Pakistan and when 30 million Han Chinese decide to "move" to Pakistan and do what they want in spite of the law, we'll see how the Pakistan government reacts. KNOW YOUR ENEMY!

    December 15, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rightster

      The Chinese are also in possession of carrier killer missiles. Carriers are obsolete except for far inferior military enemies, like Iraq.

      December 15, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arl62

      You already in your mind have us at war with them....don't be so paranoid.......remember they are NOT a 3rd world country similiar to the ones we have tangled with in the last 50+ years....our media will have a field day with you....

      December 15, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    They're probably headed here to help Occupy Space.

    December 15, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Madtown

    On which level do they have Craps?

    December 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • SK

      That's too easy of a setup – on the poop deck of course!

      December 15, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Aliat

    Mike

    "Oh boy. Can't wait to see how many little Yellow heads get chopped and planes ditched and crashed THAT first year...Imagine trying to figure out something like a catapult with NO experience."

    Unbloody believable the blatant racism in full view....OMG if America keeps spawning such idiots as you, we DEFINITELY are in trouble 30-50 years down the line....Imagine even a hundred million idiots like that with "Superiority-Complex.." We'd give our enemies a victory long before we go to war.

    December 15, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Why is it that whenever concerns about America's defense and survival arise, people like you come out of your hole with your 'racist' and 'imperialist' rants? This carrier is a great concern to all nations around China, and the threat of a military action in SEA is of utmost concern.

      December 15, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      replace one old slur, "yellow" with "Chinese Sailors and Pilots" and it is a legit comment. Probably doesn't even have a catapult to launch or gear to stop planes. I think they are only going to put helicopters on it, which may still be a mess and dangerous. It's all for show. Hope no one gets hurt.

      December 15, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. madeinchina

    Chinese are good at making good useless plastic toys and clothes. But they can't even build their own aircraft carrier.

    December 15, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • palintwit

      They are quick studies and are masters in the art of counterfeiting everything from tennis shoes to autos.

      December 15, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Matty H

    It's a 40 year old diesel ship. Nothing to worry about folks..

    December 15, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • PushingBack

      Exactly...it could probably be taken out by the wake of one of those new RCCL cruise ships!

      December 15, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skeiron

      Most American aircraft carriers are more than 20 years old, the oldest active Nimitz class carrier, the Nimitz was commissioned in 1975, thus 36 years ago.
      The oldest aircraft carrier of the US Navy the USS Enterprise was commissioned in 1961, thus even 50 years ago.

      Construction of the Varyag started in 1985, thus it's actually way newer than a lot of the American aircraft carriers and only half as old as the oldest active American carrier.

      December 15, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Johnny Bravo

    Well, just look at it this way. Look at history, It has never been the country with the Largest army or the biggest Technical advantages but, the country that has an army that has the Determination and, the Will to understand what they are fighting about. The country with the best moral and tactics won Most battles in History. The country with men who have Determination and the Will to win have won the rest.

    December 15, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mk1

    Uh, Stupid, you really had better read up on things. Huntsman was US ambassador to China for several years so he has far more credibility in talking about China than most. You had best know what you are talking about before you spout things that are obviously wrong.

    December 15, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mit

    Any sign of the Iranian "Navy" by any chance?

    December 15, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bryant

    Is it made in China like everything else you buy @ Wal-Mart?

    December 15, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Kenny

    Various countries around the world, USA uncluded, do not have to raise concerns over this Air Craft Carrier because of a little know tag found attached to the hull of the carrier. The tag reads: MADE IN CHINA. Not to worry. It will not be long before either the crews begin to suffer from exposure to toxic substances or the Chinese glue begins to break down and the carrier falls apart.

    December 15, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lois

      Obviously, you are suffering from paranoid and exposure to toxic substances...bless you...

      December 15, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BR

    I once bought a pair of shoes in China that said "made around the corner"

    December 15, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      thanks for that one, BR! I laughed so loud I got in trouble at work!

      December 15, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lois

      That's because you like buying cheaper stuffs...Shame on you...haha

      December 15, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dave C

    The issue isn't so much that with a carrier China becomes a threat to the US. What the carrier does is allow the projection of power in the interests of China away from Chinese territory. China has been building relationships with many African nations, but they only had economic power to use as influence. With the addition of carriers, they could, for example, establish a strong relationship with an African nation's government, and then use their new ships to provide military support if there was an armed rebellion (or vice versa, support the rebels against a government that wasn't dealing with the Chinese). The only risk to China would be if the US decided that the Chinese military support was enough of a threat to US interests to risk war with China, something that is unlikely in the extreme.

    December 15, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. madness

    How can something with that much lead still manage to float?

    December 15, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Concerned

    This ship may not be a direct threat to the US, but is definitely a threat to China's neighboring countries (India, Pakistan). If China decides to attack them and if the nuclear weapons that they posses fall in the wrong hands, then it becomes the USA's problem.

    December 15, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
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