posted on Feb, 16 2003 @ 10:13 PM
Unlike the majority of Chinese bright ideas this one has stayed in the local media day-to-day: so I think they are serious.
The publicly announced motives (and allow for my very feeble Mandarin) are two:
1) simply as a status thing -not unlike Kennedy's announcement about the Moon long ago. China very much wants to beat India or anyone else on this
and sees it as one more step towards Olympics in 2008 (the biggest thing in China)
2) commercially: the Chinese see a window of opportunity here: they could offer commercial use at a fraction of Western rates.
China is - publicly at least - emphatically NOT weapons-oriented. The military gets little coverage and weapons-technology advances are seldom in the
Wher I live, it is possible to go to a high point ( the naval base itself is off-limits to foreigners) and actually see the hulk of China's
aircraft carrier: they're not working on it.
China has better uses for money than weapons, at present.