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  • Sep 16, 2014
  • Updated: 11:28am

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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Opportunities arise from risk, and change comes through cataclysm. Lets plan for substantive developments ahead. Having faith will help!
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China "always respects and observes international laws and the freedoms of normal navigation and overflight".??? Except when they are stealing territory and expanding the area they patrol with their armed forces. This looks a lot like japan in the 1930's.
China "always respects and observes international laws and the freedoms of normal navigation and overflight".
my squinties were opened like my a-hole lolling!

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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.
like it or not it's freedom of speech my fren!!! there is no other way to tell that white trash off since he hasnt got an ounce of brain to understand how offensive his comments to Chinese race!!!
Frankly, if you compare SCMP's with those in some West-based forums' it is pretty decent! But dont let your biasness gets in the way of a good-bashing of anything remotely critical of western media double standard.
^^^^^^^Pieter de Coningh

Pieter de Coningh
Dec 17th 2013

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.^^^^^^)))))
You must be a moron if you would let anything come as close as 5km of your aircraft carrier. The DF21 is mobile and has a speed of mach 10 which means approx. 16,000km/hr, how many nanoseconds do you surmise it would take to sink a carrier located at 5km away.
You sure know a lot about the nomenclature and specifications of the DF-21....do they have DF-21's floating on ships now? This was in International waters.
I guess what you meant is that if they could park DF-21 transporters on the deck of the Liaoning and try to shoot them off, that is how fast they might go - if the launcher is not blown backwards into the ocean.......




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