First Chinese Aircraft Carrier Begins Sea Trials

China’s first aircraft carrier started its sea trial Aug. 10, highlighting once again the country’s rapid military build-up. The Chinese are believed to have bought the old Soviet ship in 1998 without an engine, electronics, or propeller, reported AFP. Military sources have said the sea trial falls in line with the refitting project, adding that refit and test work will resume when the ship returns. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead told reporters in March that the US shares the concerns of regional partners about the recent developments in Chinese stealth aircraft and its anti-aircraft carrier capabilities. China’s growing assertiveness over territorial issues, specifically the South China Sea, has heightened such concerns in recent months. In June, a Su-27 fighter chased a U-2 reconnaissance aircraft across the centerline of the Taiwan Strait, turning back only after the Taiwanese scrambled two F-16s.