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China's Aircraft Carrier Implications for Vietnam and Regional Security

China's Aircraft Carrier Implications for Vietnam and Regional Security

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Published by Carlyle Alan Thayer
Three assessments of the implications of recent sea trials of China's first aircraft carrier for US naval dominance and for Vietnam and the Philippines.
Three assessments of the implications of recent sea trials of China's first aircraft carrier for US naval dominance and for Vietnam and the Philippines.

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Published by: Carlyle Alan Thayer on Aug 15, 2011
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08/15/2011

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Background Briefing:China’s New Aircraft CarrierCarlyle A. ThayerJuly 29, 2011
[client
 
name
 
deleted]
 
We’re
 
working
 
on
 
a
 
story
 
about
 
the
 
likely
 
regional
 
reaction
 
to
 
China’s
 
aircraft
 
carrier
 
plans,
 
off 
 
of 
 
which
 
Beijing
 
lifted
 
a
 
corner
 
of 
 
its
 
shroud
 
of 
 
secrecy
 
yesterday.
 
The
 
Chinese
 
aircraft
 
carrier
 
plans
 
have
 
been
 
known
 
for
 
a
 
while,
 
and
 
no
 
doubt
 
each
 
of 
 
the
 
countries
 
in
 
the
 
region
 
are
 
considering
 
the
 
development
 
and
 
planning
 
in
 
their
 
own
 
way.
 
Would
 
be
 
interested
 
in
 
your
 
assessment
 
of 
 
how
 
a
 
Chinese
 
carrier
 
changes
 
things
 
in
 
the
 
South
 
China
 
Sea
 
and
 
how
 
countries
 
here
 
are
 
reacting
 
already,
 
or
 
are
 
likely
 
to
 
react.
 
ANSWER:
 
China's
 
new
 
carrier
 
is
 
more
 
a
 
symbol
 
of 
 
its
 
growing
 
naval
 
strength
 
than
 
the
 
reality
 
of 
 
Chinese
 
power
 
projection.
 
China
 
has
 
announced
 
the
 
carrier
 
will
 
be
 
used
 
for
 
training
 
pilots
 
to
 
take
 
off 
 
and
 
land
 
while
 
at
 
sea.
 
At
 
present
 
China
 
cannot
 
use
 
the
 
carrier
 
to
 
project
 
force.
 
While
 
it
 
might
 
conceivably
 
be
 
used
 
in
 
future
 
for
 
certain
 
contingencies
 
it
 
would
 
not
 
be
 
able
 
to
 
maintain
 
a
 
permanent
 
presence.
 
Chinese
 
military
 
state
 
the
 
carrier
 
will
 
not
 
be
 
used
 
for
 
military
 
operations.
 
Defence
 
planners
 
work
 
out
 
several
 
decades.
 
A
 
carrier
 
needs
 
to
 
be
 
protected
 
from
 
air
 
and
 
submarine
 
attack.
 
China
 
has
 
woeful
 
asw
 
(anti
submarine
 
warfare)
 
capacity
 
and
 
its
 
carrier
 
would
 
be
 
vulnerable
 
in
 
an
 
enclosed
 
sea
 
such
 
as
 
the
 
South
 
China
 
Sea
 
to
 
nations
 
that
 
possessed
 
modern
 
submarines,
 
such
 
as
 
Vietnam
 
when
 
it
 
takes
 
delivery
 
of 
 
Kilo
 
submarines.
 
The
 
carrier
 
would
 
also
 
have
 
to
 
be
 
accompanied
 
by
 
several
 
air
 
warfare
 
ships.
 
The
 
concern
 
is
 
that
 
China
 
will
 
acquire
 
several
 
carriers
 
and
 
base
 
them
 
at
 
Hainan
 
Island.
 
This
 
could
 
give
 
China
 
he
 
ability
 
to
 
project
 
power
 
and
 
exert
 
sea
 
control
 
at
 
much
 
greater
 
distances.
 
This
 
would
 
affect
 
all
 
littoral
 
states
 
and
 
even
 
India
 
as
 
Chinese
 
carriers
 
sail
 
into
 
the
 
Indian
 
Ocean.
 
The
 
primary
 
concerns
 
of 
 
regional
 
states
 
relate
 
to
 
the
 
future
 
balance
 
of 
 
naval
 
power
 
and
 
whether
 
the
 
US
 
will
 
remain
 
engaged
 
with
 
the
 
region
 
to
 
prevent
 
the
 
South
 
China
 
Sea
 
from
 
becoming
 
a
 
Chinese
 
lake.
 
Thayer Consultancy
ABN # 65 648 097 123
 
 
Background Briefing:China’s Aircraft CarrierUndergoes Sea TrialsCarlyle A. ThayerAugust 9, 2011
[client
 
name
 
deleted]
 
The
 
news
 
is
 
being
 
flashed
 
that
 
China's
 
first
 
aircraft
 
carrier
 
will
 
begin
 
sea
 
trials
 
today.
 
Request
 
your
 
assessment
 
of 
 
whether
 
this
 
is
 
a
 
tipping
 
point
 
for
 
US
 
strategic
 
naval
 
dominance
 
in
 
the
 
region,
 
and
 
what
 
this
 
will
 
mean
 
to
 
Vietnam
 
and
 
the
 
Philippines.
 
ANSWER:
 
The
 
start
 
of 
 
sea
 
trials
 
for
 
China’s
 
first
 
aircraft
 
carrier
 
marks
 
an
 
important
 
evolution
 
in
 
Chinese
 
naval
 
power.
 
But,
 
contrary
 
to
 
the
 
grossly
 
exaggerated
 
assertions
 
of 
 
some
 
regional
 
specialists,
 
it
 
does
 
not
 
constitute
 
a
 
game
 
changer
 
in
 
the
 
naval
 
balance
 
of 
 
power
 
in
 
the
 
western
 
Pacific.
 
China’s
 
carrier
 
represents
 
a
 
modest
 
development.
 
It
 
is
 
intended
 
as
 
a
 
training
 
ship
 
and
 
it
 
will
 
not
 
be
 
capable
 
of 
 
effectively
 
projecting
 
power.
 
The
 
carrier
 
is
 
likely
 
to
 
spend
 
more
 
time
 
in
 
port
 
than
 
at
 
sea.
 
The
 
carrier
 
is
 
mainly
 
symbolic
 
of 
 
potential
 
Chinese
 
naval
 
ambitions.
 
China
 
will
 
need
 
at
 
least
 
three
 
carriers
 
to
 
keep
 
one
 
on
 
station
 
on
 
a
 
permanent
 
basis.
 
A
 
single
 
carrier
 
cannot
 
be
 
everywhere
 
at
 
the
 
same
 
time.
 
The
 
carrier
 
group
 
will
 
require
 
naval
 
support
 
elements
 
to
 
protect
 
the
 
carrier
 
from
 
air
 
and
 
sub
 
surface
 
attack.
 
China
 
is
 
weak
 
in
 
anti
submarine
 
warfare.
 
Vietnam
 
is
 
projecting
 
the
 
development
 
of 
 
an
 
operational
 
Kilo
class
 
submarine
 
squadron
 
in
 
six
 
years.
 
Vietnam’s
 
sub
 
force
 
will
 
present
 
a
 
credible
 
deterrent
 
to
 
China’s
 
carrier,
 
especially
 
if 
 
one
 
of 
 
its
 
Kilo’s
 
penetrates
 
the
 
carrier’s
 
defensive
 
screen.
 
China’s
 
carrier
 
will
 
be
 
politically
 
but
 
not
 
militarily
 
intimidating
 
if 
 
it
 
deploys
 
to
 
the
 
South
 
China
 
Sea.
 
Vietnam
 
and
 
the
 
Philippines
 
are
 
likely
 
to
 
continue
 
past
 
practice
 
of 
 
allowing
 
U.S.
 
carriers,
 
such
 
as
 
the
 
USS
 
Carl 
 
Vinson
,
 
to
 
sail
 
through
 
their
 
Exclusive
 
Economic
 
Zones
 
and
 
host
 
fly
 
outs
 
by
 
government
 
officials
 
and
 
senior
 
military
 
officers.
 
Thayer Consultancy
ABN # 65 648 097 123
 
 
Background Briefing:Vietnam & China: AircraftCarrier DiplomacyCarlyle A. ThayerAugust 13, 2011
[client
 
name
 
deleted]
 
After
 
last
 
month’s
 
US
 
ship
 
visit
 
in
 
Danang,
 
another
 
U.S.
 
aircraft
 
carrier
 
is
 
scheduled
 
to
 
pass
 
through
 
the
 
South
 
China
 
Sea.
 
This
 
is
 
the
 
second
 
time
 
that
 
Vietnamese
 
officials
 
will
 
fly
 
out
 
to
 
observe
 
carrier
 
operations,
 
but
 
it
 
also
 
comes
 
 just
 
three
 
days
 
after
 
China
 
launched
 
its
 
first
 
carrier.
 
Could
 
you
 
provide
 
an
 
assessment
 
of 
 
the
 
following:
 
Q1.
 
Do
 
you
 
see
 
the
 
situation
 
cooling
 
a
 
bit
 
between
 
China
 
and
 
Vietnam
 
after
 
the
 
ASEAN
 
Regional
 
Forum
 
meeting
 
in
 
Bali
 
and
 
Sino
Vietnamese
 
bilateral
 
talks?
 
The
 
anti
China
 
protests
 
have
 
continued
 
in
 
Hanoi
 
and
 
Vietnam’s
 
MOFA
 
[Ministry
 
of 
 
Foreign
 
Affairs]
 
fired
 
off 
 
a
 
fresh
 
protest
 
this
 
week
 
over
 
Beijing’s
 
oil
 
exploration
 
activities.
 
Do
 
you
 
think
 
Vietnam
 
wants
 
to
 
continue
 
sending
 
Beijing
 
a
 
message
 
that
 
it’s
 
highly
 
irritated?
 
Or
 
is
 
it
 
time
 
to
 
pull
 
back
 
and
 
play
 
nice?
 
ANSWER:
 
Sino
Vietnamese
 
tensions
 
have
 
abated
 
since
 
Vietnam
 
dispatched
 
a
 
special
 
envoy
 
to
 
Beijing
 
and
 
the
 
adoption
 
of 
 
guidelines
 
on
 
the
 
Declaration
 
of 
 
Conduct
 
of 
 
Parties
 
in
 
the
 
South
 
China
 
Sea.
 
Both
 
sides
 
have
 
convened
 
the
 
seventh
 
round
 
of 
 
bilateral
 
discussions
 
on
 
resolving
 
maritime
 
disputes.
 
Vietnamese
 
leaders
 
realize
 
that
 
there
 
are
 
limits
 
as
 
to
 
how
 
far
 
they
 
can
 
press
 
China
 
on
 
the
 
South
 
China
 
Sea
 
issue.
 
Both
 
sides
 
will
 
continue
 
to
 
protest
 
any
 
actions
 
by
 
the
 
other
 
side
 
in
 
relation
 
to
 
the
 
South
 
China
 
Sea
 
out
 
of 
 
concern
 
that
 
the
 
absence
 
of 
 
a
 
protest
 
will
 
signal
 
acquiescence.
 
The
 
continuation
 
of 
 
public
 
protests
 
in
 
Vietnam
 
is
 
an
 
indication
 
that
 
Vietnamese
 
leaders
 
are
 
divided
 
about
 
how
 
to
 
respond
 
to
 
domestic
 
pressure.
 
Public
 
demonstrations
 
in
 
Hanoi
 
have
 
been
 
moved
 
from
 
the
 
vicinity
 
of 
 
the
 
Chinese
 
Embassy
 
to
 
the
 
lake.
 
Q2.
 
What
 
about
 
the
 
US
 
role?
 
The
 
timing
 
of 
 
the
 
US
 
Navy
 
ship
 
visit
 
to
 
Danang
 
last
 
month
 
angered
 
China
 
and
 
this
 
week
 
a
 
US
 
aircraft
 
carrier
 
(USS
 
George
 
Washington
)
 
is
 
scheduled
 
to
 
arrive
 
off 
 
Vietnam’s
 
southern
 
coast.
 
Do
 
you
 
think
 
Vietnam
 
is
 
working
 
harder
 
to
 
showcase
 
its
 
growing
 
military
 
ties
 
with
 
the
 
US?
 
What
 
message
 
are
 
these
 
naval
 
visits
 
and
 
 joint
 
exercises
 
sending
 
to
 
China?
 
ANSWER:
 
A
 
distinction
 
should
 
be
 
made
 
between
 
alignment
 
with
 
the
 
United
 
States
 
and
 
encouraging
 
the
 
U.S.
 
to
 
remain
 
engaged
 
in
 
Southeast
 
Asia.
 
Vietnam
 
is
 
not
 
aligning
 
itself 
 
with
 
the
 
U.S.
 
so
 
much
 
as
 
underscoring
 
that
 
the
 
U.S.
 
has
 
a
 
legitimate
 
Thayer Consultancy
ABN # 65 648 097 123

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