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English>>China Military

Varyag trial stirs up Cold War feeling for foreign watchers

By Chen Chenchen (Global Times)

08:32, August 30, 2012

China's first aircraft carrier, originally the Ukrainian Varyag, set off for its 10th sea trial Monday. The carrier, since its low-profile debut in July 2011, has been followed closely by overseas observers.

Among external interpretations there are largely two tendencies: One sees the carrier as another symbol of China's muscle-stretching strategy and thus hypes the increasing "China threat," whereas the other disparages the Varyag as a "paper tiger" and a carrier "in name only."

Both mentalities demonstrate a certain degree of inadaptability to China's aircraft carrier strategy and misinterpretation of China's intensions. It's hard to tell how long it will take before Western observers can rationally view China's carrier development as a natural, necessary step in the country's military build-up, just as with their own navies.

But one thing is for sure: If China is led by the nose by these miscellaneous commentators and tries to please them, the only choice is probably to totally give up its aircraft carrier development.

The Varyag is widely seen as an important milestone in China's rise. There is nothing to cover in this. China doesn't want to stir up more concerns and worries among its neighbors. This is also why the nation keeps a low-profile and is cautious about publicizing every single move related to its carrier development.

Domestic polls have shown that the majority of Chinese advocate carrier development, and most believe the carrier's major role lies in national defense. At the moment, each sea trial of the Varyag brings China one step closer to its carrier era.

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