Sunday, July 31, 2011
10:40 PM ASIAN DEFENCE No comments
China's neighbors are worried its aircraft carrier program may in time intimidate regional rivals but its military on Thursday defended the plan as vital for maritime security. A day after China confirmed it was refitting an old Soviet vessel, and sources told Reuters it was building two of its own carriers, the official Liberation Army Daily stressed the mix of patriotic glory-seeking and future security worries behind the decision. China's humiliations at the hands of Western powers in the past centuries "left the Chinese people with the deep pain of having seas they could not defend, helplessly eating the bitter fruit of being beaten for being backward," said a front-page editorial in the paper. That trend is changing as Beijing ramps up its military spending while Washington discusses cutting its much larger defense budget. Growing Chinese military reach is triggering regional jitters that have fed into longstanding territorial disputes, and could speed up military expansion across Asia.