China`s 1st aircraft carrier in South China Sea
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Last Updated: Tuesday, August 16, 2011, 18:39
  
Beijing: China regards its first aircraft carrier as a "strategic" asset and plans to deploy it in the resource-rich South China Sea, where it is involved in maritime disputes with several countries.

The aircraft carrier, which has just completed trial runs, will be deployed in the South China Sea by the next Army Day, state-run People's Daily reported today.

Tensions brewed in the South China Sea in recent months between China and several ASEAN countries including Vietnam and The Philippines over a number of islands stated to be rich with mineral and oil resources.

The vessel will operate under direct command of the country's Central Military Commission, headed by President Hu Jintao, the report said.

According to reports, the carrier refitted from an imported platform called Varyag from Ukraine was towed back to the Dalian Port in northeast Liaoning Province yesterday after four days of tests in the Yellow Sea.

"An aircraft carrier is the mark of major powers," the Daily quoted Gen Qiao Liang a military expert as saying.

The vessel will largely expand the combat radius, raising country's off shore comprehensive combat capabilities beyond the first island chain.

Qiao said air domination is the prerequisite of naval warfare, especially for the remote areas away from the heartland. As a result, there is no alternative for the vessel's leadership. Rather than an armament used in actual combat, the aircraft carrier is now more a strategic weapon.

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, August 16, 2011, 18:39


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