Carrier a natural step
Updated: 2012-09-27 07:47
For a country sticking to the course of peaceful development and adhering to a defensive defense policy, China has received a lot of flak for launching its first-ever aircraft carrier.
The commissioning of the Liaoning has aroused so much attention and wild speculation because of the outdated "China threat" theory.
In fact, long before the official launch of the Liaoning, China's purchase and refitting of the aircraft carrier had drawn wild interpretations and sensational remarks. There is no denying that some are meant to mislead public opinion and play on concerns about China's military modernization.
For China, which notably contributes to the global economic growth and world trade, the legitimacy and necessity of developing aircraft carrier technology to safeguard its national interests are self-evident. It is obliged to defend more than 18,000 kilometers of coastline, 3 million square kilometers of territorial waters and growing interests overseas.
For the second largest economy and most populous country in the world, aircraft carriers are both a reasonable choice and a natural step in the modernization of its military.
Among the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, China is the last one to have an aircraft carrier. In fact, along with the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Russia, Brazil, India, Italy, Spain and Thailand are all in possession of aircraft carriers.
In recent years, with China's economic clout rising, there have been calls for China to play a bigger role in world affairs and shoulder more international responsibilities. Without an advanced navy that is able to conduct operations on the high seas, the country will not be in a position to do this.
The commissioning of the Liaoning certainly draws it one step closer toward building a blue-water navy, which would enable it to take on more of the international responsibilities it is being asked to shoulder.
The complicated, and worsening, security environment the country is facing now also justifies China's move to improve its navy's capabilities.
So it is unreasonable to misinterpret and over-react to China's development of its own aircraft carriers. That China is making efforts to enhance its defense forces will contribute to the country's implementation of its peaceful development strategy. It should not be interpreted as a threat.
(China Daily 09/27/2012 page8)