GOOD MORNING FROM LONDON
CCTV announced today, 17 June 2022, that China’s 3rd + most advanced aircraft carrier was launched today from the Jiangnan shipyard in Shanghai. The Type 003 warship, named the Fujian and with a hull number of 18, is the first carrier in China’s fleet to use an electromagnetic catapult to launch planes from the deck, which is faster, + more energy efficient than the older steam catapult system. It increases the carrier’s stroke capabilities. The US has struggled to adopt the new catapult.
CCTV said the testing of the carrier’s mooring and navigation systems will be the first priority after today’s launch. It will likely be commissioned as early as 2024, giving China the world’s largest fleet of carriers after the U.S. The US Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said “Its launch will be a seminal moment in China’s ongoing modernization efforts and a symbol of the country’s growing military might.”
The launch of the Fujian will revive arguments and counter-arguments as to whether China is expansionist + threatening, as its critics contend, or defensive + protective as its spokespersons assert.
Bear in mind the active discussions taking place in the Pentagon and US academic circles about the Thucydides Principle – existing powers refusing to yield to new powers – and the 52 US military bases that encircle China and you realise that there really are two quite different explanations as to whether China is a Force for Peace or a Force for War.
This Column views today’s launch of the Fujian as further evidence of the significant Geo-Political changes taking place in the world today. China is on the move as it continues along the path of modernisation. Notwithstanding problems of a reducing birth rate, a sizeable 150m minority of untrained workers and the challenge of the population’s rising expectations, China is a fundamental challenge to the hitherto unchallenged power of the US. An Avoidable War beckons.
NEXT POST – 20 JUNE 2022