Wednesday, 22 June 2011

{EOB}China's 1st Aircraft Carrier sea trial next week




The new Chinese Aircraft Carrier
WRITER | ENTICING FURY
China’s first aircraft carrier – a remodelled Soviet-era vessel – will go on sea trials next week, a report said Tuesday, amid escalating tensions in the South China Sea. China’s top military official reportedly confirmed earlier this month that Beijing is building a huge aircraft carrier, the first acknowledgement of the ship’s existence from China’s secretive defence program. On Tuesday, the Hong Kong Commercial Daily , which broke the story of the vessel’s confirmation, quoted unnamed military sources saying the carrier will go on sea trials on July 1 but will not be officially launched until October.




The sources said the test has been expedited in view of rising tensions in the South China Sea — home to two potentially oil-rich archipelagos, the Paracels and Spratlys — in recent weeks.China’s military “hopes it will show the strength of the Chinese maritime forces to deter other nations which are eyeing the South China Sea in order to calm tensions”, the sources said. They added that the sea trial date was also picked to mark the 90th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party , but noted that factors such as weather could affect the planned test run. China’s military did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment. Tensions between Beijing and other rival claimants to the strategically vital South China Sea have heightened recently.

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