China First Aircraft Carrier Prepared for ‘War’: Navy

China First Aircraft Carrier Prepared for ‘War’: Navy
Tue Nov 15, 2016 12:25:40

China says its first aircraft carrier is ready for a deterrent “war”, a change from its previous status as a training ship, intended to allow the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) to practice with carrier usage.

The conventionally-powered CNS Liaoning (CV-16) “is always prepared for war and our combat capacity also needs to be tested by war,” said Liaoning's political commissar Captain Li Dongyou on Tuesday.

In an interview with the state-run Chinese newspaper Global Times, he said the aircraft carrier “is constantly prepared to fight against enemies.”

“At this moment, we are doing our best to promote our strength and use it to prevent war, and are prepared for actual combat at any time,” Li further said.

The aircraft carrier was laid down as Riga at the Black Sea Shipyard in Ukraine in 1985 and joined the Soviet navy in 1988 and was renamed Varyag in 1990.

China purchased the stripped hulk in 1998 and towed it to a shipyard in Dalian, the second largest city in the northeastern province of Liaoning.

The 60,000-ton aircraft carrier then was completely rebuilt and underwent sea trials, and was handed over to the PLAN on September 23, 2012, two days before she was commissioned under the new name of Liaoning, in honor of the province in which she was retrofitted.

Liaoning is capable of tearing through the waves at the top speed of 37 kilometers per hour and can embark 36 aircraft. China is currently manufacturing its second aircraft carrier.

Beijing has not described specifically how it plans to use the ship, but it seems that she can help reinforce China’s fleet in the disputed South China Sea in the face of challenges from the US Navy and others.

China claims sovereignty over almost all of the South China Sea which is also partially contested by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam as well as the Philippines.

Washington has time and again risked heightening tensions with Beijing through military presence in the South China Sea, questioning China’s insistence on sovereignty over the disputed waters.

China has, in response, accused Washington of meddling in regional issues and deliberately escalating the situation in the region.

S/SH 11

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