08/11/2011, 00.00
CHINA – KOREA
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China’s aircraft carrier threatens “the stability of the Pacific”

by Joseph Yun Li-sun
South Korean government sources tell AsiaNews that China wants to “control international waters” and “settle the Taiwan issue once and for all”. Military analysts say that the “Varyag can cause great damage”. However, for US sources, China’s is a “long way from having the military capabilities of the United States”.
Seoul (AsiaNews) – China’s aircraft carrier “is a threat to the stability of the Pacific. The Chinese government is going for broke to take lands that are in dispute with other nations and settle the Taiwan question once and for all,” a source in the South Korean government told AsiaNews, citing military studies published in today’s press and reports from the South Korean government.

For the first time in its history, the Chinese navy launched an aircraft carrier with the latest missile technology. The Soviet-era Varyag, which was bought about a decade ago from the Ukraine, left the port of Dalian (northeastern China) two days ago for its first sea trial.

The announcement was carried by China’s official Xinhua news agency. "China is making use of an old aircraft carrier platform for scientific research, experiment and training," a government official said. However, the ship has the latest radar and surface-to-air missiles that can threaten almost all the countries in the region.

Likewise, Varyag’s presence is a challenge to the US Pacific fleet, and US allies who are rivals of China. Howe

For Lan Ning-li, a former admiral in the Taiwanese Navy, the new carrier will allow China “to expand its activities in the South Pacific” and will make Taiwan “vulnerable to enemy attacks.”

And Taiwan is not the only target of Beijing’s maritime strategy. China is embroiled in controversies with others over ownership of a number of groups of small islands with great potential in natural resources. China claims sovereignty over them, but faces counterclaims by the Philippines, Vietnam, Japan and South Korea.

Some military analysts, cited by South Korean newspaper Chosun-Ilbo, said that Beijing “threatens everyone. Helped by Pyongyang, which can provoke an incident at any time, the Chinese can undermine the region’s balance of power.”

For James Nolt, a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute in New York, it will be decades behind the United States in operational knowhow and in numbers.
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