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BEIJING (Reuters) – China may be ready to launch its first aircraft carrier in 2011, Chinese military and political sources said on Thursday, a year ahead of U.S. military analysts' expectations.
Analysts expect China to use its first operational aircraft carrier to ensure the security of its oil supply route through the Indian Ocean and near the disputed Spratly Islands, but full capability is still some years away.
"The period around July 1 next year to celebrate the (Chinese Communist) Party's birthday is one window (for launch)," one source with ties to the leadership told Reut
The more prudent among the Chinese strategists caution against building aircraft carriers. They argue that blind pursuit of maritime ambitions might put Beijing on a premature collision course with the world’s dominant naval power, the United States. Those advocating that China should bide its time propose that Beijing must concentrate instead on defensive naval capabilities that will deny ocean spaces near its teritory to the United States. The indication in the last couple of years has been that the nationalists might be winning the argument. When China announced its decision last December to dispatch a flotilla to the Gulf of Aden, the first Chinese naval mission away from its shores, it dropped a hint that major decisions may have already been made on the carriers.
"China has the capability to build aircraft carriers and should do so," he added in remarks that will fuel speculation that, after two decades of research, China is ready commission its first carrier. The comments come two days after China announced a 14.9 per cent increase in defence spending for 2009, a rise that will have seen total Chinese military spending increase by more than 50 per cent since 2006
The Chinese navy has been lobbying for permission to build an aircraft carrier since the 1980s, but analysts say it has been over-ruled by the country's Central Military Commission anxious that China's rise should not appear to upset regional security balances.
Originally posted by stirling
Truely does anyone realise that even this one carrier will be outnumbered ten to one?
There are few aircraft carriers in existance even,france has one, the UK has one, Russia has one or two, and thats about it...The US outnumbers all carriers in the world 2 to 1....or better.
Maybe for now ... but how much longer will the US be able to afford to run it's 10+ carrier fleets?
China, on the other hand, has trillions of $ in her kitty
Originally posted by proteus33
I WAS UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT CHINA BOUGHT A RELITVLY NEW RUSSIAN CARRIER A YEAR OR TWO AGO