Key words: China, aircraft carrier, Asian strategic balance, anti-submarine warfare, Chinese navy
On 17 November 2008, the latest round of discussions were held on China’s aircraft carrier. Major General Qian Lihua, Director of the Foreign Affairs Office in the Chinese Ministry of Defense told Financial Times that, “The world should not be surprised if China builds an aircraft carrier.” One month later, on 24 December 2008, the Ministry of Defense announced that China is “seriously considering” building an aircraft carrier to protect its national interests.
According to a CRS Report to Congress issued on 18 November 2005: “If China is to shift to a broader “sea control” strategy, the primary indicators would be the development of an aircraft carrier, and robust anti-submarine warfare capabilities...”
If China builds its own aircraft carrier, its geopolitical and military implications would bring about a major change in the Asian strategic balance, causing a host of new anxieties.