China lands fighter jet on new carrier in show of force

SHANGHAI Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:11pm IST

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China has carried out its first successful landing of a fighter jet on its first aircraft carrier, state media said on Sunday, a symbolically significant development as Asian neighbours fret about the world's most populous country's military ambitions.

The home-built J-15 fighter jet took off from and landed on the Liaoning, a reconditioned Soviet-era vessel from Ukraine which only came into service in September this year.

China ushered in a new generation of leaders this month at the 18th Communist Party Congress in Beijing, with outgoing President Hu Jintao making a pointed reference to strengthening China's naval forces, protecting maritime interests and the need to "win local war".

China is embroiled in disputes with the Philippines and Vietnam over South China Sea islands believed to be surrounded by waters rich in natural gas. It has a similar dispute with Japan over islands in the East China Sea.

It has also warned the United States, with President Barack Obama's "pivot" to Asia, not to get involved.

"We should make active planning for the use of military forces in peacetime, expand and intensify military preparedness, and enhance the capability to accomplish a wide range of military tasks, the most important of which is to win local war in an information age," Hu said.

China has advertised its long-term military ambitions with shows of new hardware, including its first test flight of a stealth fighter jet in early 2011, an elite helicopter unit and the launch of the aircraft carrier.

China is boosting military spending by 11.2 percent this year, bringing official outlays on the People's Liberation Army to 670.3 billion yuan for 2012, after a 12.7 percent increase last year and a near-unbroken string of double-digit rises across two decades.

Beijing's public budget is widely thought by foreign experts to undercount its real spending on military modernisation, which has drawn repeated calls from the United States for China to share more about its intentions.

China's state-run Xinhua news portal said the J-15 - which can carry multi-type anti-ship, air-to-air, and air-to-ground missiles - is comparable to the Russian Su-33 jet and the U.S. F-18. It did not say when the landing on the carrier took place.

(Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Nick Macfie)

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Insight

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Border Tensions

Border Tensions

India names Ajit Doval as special envoy for China border talks.  Full Article 

Easing Congestion

Easing Congestion

India targets private cash to build railways to its ports.  Full Article 

First Casualty

First Casualty

Jindal Steel shelves $10 bln project after coal setback.  Full Article 

Global Trade Dispute

Global Dispute

U.S. seeks to step up India trade talks after WTO deal.  Full Article 

Budget Airline

Budget Airline

SpiceJet says in early talks with investors for fresh capital.  Full Article 

Iran Talks

Iran Talks

Iran nuclear talks extended 7 months after failing to meet deadline.  Full Article 

Obama Aide Quits

Obama Aide Quits

Hagel resigns as U.S. defence secretary, official says.  Full Article 

Clarke In

Clarke In

Clarke in first test team, but must prove fitness.  Full Article 

Glory Days

Glory Days

Hamilton leaves the partying for later.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage