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Aircraft carrier Liaoning

China's first aircraft carrier went into commission on September 26, 2012 and was named "Liaoning" after the northeastern province. The 300-metre ship, refurbished and upgraded from the unfinished Soviet carreir Varyag, which China bought from Ukraine in 1998, is believed to be years away from active service. 


US navy accused of 'harassing' carrier Liaoning in South China Sea incident

Americans were responsible for near-miss at sea with Chinese fleet, according to state newspaper

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 December, 2013, 11:30pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 December, 2013, 2:59pm

An official Chinese newspaper yesterday accused the US Navy of harassing a PLA squadron shortly before a near collision that was the most serious sea confrontation between the nations in years.

There has been no direct comment from the foreign ministry or defence officials on the December 5 incident in the South China Sea, where the USS Cowpens was operating in international waters. The US Pacific Fleet said the 10,000-ton cruiser had to take emergency measures to avoid a collision.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying referred questions to the defence ministry, but insisted China "always respects and observes international laws and the freedoms of normal navigation and overflight".

The Global Times newspaper said the USS Cowpens had been getting too close to a naval drill involving the country's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, and its support ships. The paper said the Cowpens came within 45 kilometres of the Chinese squadron, inside what it called its "inner defence layer".

"The USS Cowpens was tailing after and harassing the Liaoning formation," the newspaper said, citing an unnamed source it described as being familiar with the confrontation. "It took offensive actions at first towards the Liaoning formation on the day of the confrontation.

"If the American navy and air force always encroach near China's doorstep, confrontation is bound to take place," it said, and cited the collision between a US spy plane and a PLA fighter in 2001 as the kind of accident that can result from confrontation.

Analysts said the stand-off underscored the increased tensions in the region between the two militaries.

"This is one more example of the growing rivalry between China, a fast-rising maritime power, and the United States, the dominant naval power in the Pacific region since the second world war," said Ni Lexiong , an expert in military and maritime affairs with Shanghai University of Political Science and Law.

Jingdong Yuan, a regional security expert with the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney, said: "The intention is to warn US military ships and planes against getting too close to Chinese maritime and air space and also a way to demonstrate that the parameter of Chinese aerial and maritime patrols is also expanding."

The incident came after China last month announced the establishment of an air defence identification zone over the East China Sea, a move that elicited howls of objection from the US military, which immediately called China's bluff by flying B-52 bombers through the zone.

Some military analysts linked the maritime incident to the air defence zone. "The incident is a follow-up of their tit-for-tat row over the air defence identification zone," Ni said.

Yuan, who specialises in Asia-Pacific security and Chinese defence, said that while the US emphasises freedom of navigation in international waters, Beijing was obviously not pleased about US intelligence-gathering, especially that which involved getting close to new weapons systems and vessels such as the Liaoning and the new generation of nuclear submarines.


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This article is now closed to comments

well that is sorted then, thank goodness the PLA provided the real story
Well, if the Chinese ship was using the invisibility cloak, there would be no way to see it no matter how close or far one was. That's the real danger!
What would a carrier battle group of the United States would have done if a foreign vessel enters her 45 miles radius? It would have done exactly the same thing or even worse. It is typical of the United States to accuse other countries of wrong doing, and try to act the innocent kid.
I am just waiting for the news that some small SE Asian country, like Vietnam, put the Liaoning at the bottom of the ocean with a shore to ship cruise missile.....very inexpensive deterrent.
How is 45km a near collision?
Good idea.
Next time China should hold its naval drills just off the coast of Hawaii and see how the Americans like being harassed in their own backyard.

lamlm38 replied to jpinst: "why dont u go hme and suck some JP or Yank peckers.. heard they r pretty good!!!!"
Has the SCMP sunk to the level of an unflushed toilet? Is this the new SCMP standard for comments?
When vulgarity and obscene insults become the coin of the realm, civilized discourse ends.
Next time, China can send a combat flotilla right into an US carrier squdron and see how it reacts.
Right on! After all, Hawaii, Alaska and the entire western North America continent were historically a part of China, right?
Pieter de Coningh
45km is a very big zone and impossible to maintain in busy waters. US carriers ask all ships to stay outside 5km when operating aircraft. I guess a matter of experience.



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