FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Arms Race in the Pacific: China and Japan Boost Their Naval Power

Beijing.

Two myths, that Japan does not have an aircraft carrier and that China is sticking with two, have just been torpedoed.

Chinese authorities confirmed on Tuesday that they were building the country’s third aircraft carrier. But it was hardly an iron-clad secret.

In June, the image on a publicity picture in the boardroom of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, the ship’s builders, in Wuhan City, showed three aircraft carriers, whereas Beijing only has two. The third was an artist’s impression of the one the corporation was building in Shanghai.

The two are the Liaoning, the country’s first aircraft carrier, refurbished from the hulk of a Ukranian vessel and the still-to-be-named Type 001A, undergoing sea trials since 2017 before coming into service in 2019. It is the country’s first domestically developed carrier.

Both have ski-jump decks, but the new warship will have a flat-top deck, suggesting a catapult aircraft launch system.

A large command center on the deck could indicate that the warship will be a conventionally-powered carrier rather than rely on nuclear-power.

Xinhua News Agency’s announcement of the project came in an article commemorating China’s first successful landing of a fighter on the Liaoning just after its launch in November, 2012.

China plans to have four aircraft carrier battle groups in service by 2030

Japan too is reinforcing its military capability. In November, China and Japan agreed to boost trade between the countries in response to Washington’s protectionist lurch. But both countries have a sizeable and vociferous military lobby and regardless of more favourable trade winds they are sticking to their guns.

Japan is preparing to order another 100 F-35 stealth fighter jets from the U.S. to replace some of its aging F-15s.

China’s military build-up played a role in the decision as did pandering to U.S. President Donald Trump’s call for Tokyo to buy more defence equipment. Japan had intended to buy 42 new fighters but is now set to more than double its order. A single F-35 costs over $88 million.

This also means that one of the most ridiculous pretences of modern times will be sunk. The Tokyo government intends to revamp the Maritime Self-Defence Force’s JS Izumo helicopter carrier to host the fighters.

The Izumo, a 250-meter-long “flat-topped destroyer’’, was named after a cruiser that was sunk by the U.S. in 1945. The warship is in reality an aircraft carrier by any other name. However, aircraft carriers imply a force projection well beyond Japan’s shores, therefore it had to be described as a destroyer or a helicopter carrier.

That pretence will be dropped once some of the new vertical take-off F-35 jets in the 100-fighter batch purchased by Tokyo are deployed on the carrier.

Japan’s government plans to approve the purchase when it adopts new National Defence Program Guidelines at a cabinet meeting in mid-December.

The 42 fighters Japan originally planned to buy are all F-35As, a conventional takeoff and landing variant. The additional 100 planes would include both the F-35A and F-35B, which is capable of short takeoffs and vertical landings.

Perfect for the former helicopter carrier.

 

More articles by:

Tom Clifford is a freelance journalist and can be reached at: cliffordtomsan@hotmail.com.

July 13, 2020
Gerald Sussman
The Russiagate Spectacle: Season 2?
Ishmael Reed
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Perry Mason Moment
Jack Rasmus
Why the 3rd Quarter US Economic ‘Rebound’ Will Falter
W. T. Whitney
Oil Comes First in Peru, Not Coronavirus Danger, Not Indigenous Rights
Ralph Nader
The Enduring Case for Demanding Trump’s Resignation
Raghav Kaushik – Arun Gupta
On Coronavirus and the Anti-Police-Brutality Uprising
Deborah James
Digital Trade Rules: a Disastrous New Constitution for the Global Economy Written by and for Big Tech
Howard Lisnoff
Remembering the Nuclear Freeze Movement and Its Futility
Sam Pizzigati
Will the Biden-Sanders Economic Task Force Rattle the Rich?
Allen Baker
Trump’s Stance on Foreign College Students Digs US Economic Hole Even Deeper
Binoy Kampmark
The Coronavirus Seal: Victoria’s Borders Close
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Power, Knowledge and Virtue
Weekend Edition
July 10, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Lynnette Grey Bull
Trump’s Postcard to America From the Shrine of Hypocrisy
Anthony DiMaggio
Free Speech Fantasies: the Harper’s Letter and the Myth of American Liberalism
David Yearsley
Morricone: Maestro of Music and Image
Jeffrey St. Clair
“I Could Live With That”: How the CIA Made Afghanistan Safe for the Opium Trade
Rob Urie
Democracy and the Illusion of Choice
Paul Street
Imperial Blind Spots and a Question for Obama
Vijay Prashad
The U.S. and UK are a Wrecking Ball Crew Against the Pillars of Internationalism
Melvin Goodman
The Washington Post and Its Cold War Drums
Richard C. Gross
Trump: Reopen Schools (or Else)
Chris Krupp
Public Lands Under Widespread Attack During Pandemic 
Alda Facio
What Coronavirus Teaches Us About Inequality, Discrimination and the Importance of Caring
Eve Ottenberg
Bounty Tales
Andrew Levine
Silver Linings Ahead?
John Kendall Hawkins
FrankenBob: The Self-Made Dylan
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Deutsche Bank Fined $150 Million for Enabling Jeffrey Epstein; Where’s the Fine Against JPMorgan Chase?
David Rosen
Inequality and the End of the American Dream
Louis Proyect
Harper’s and the Great Cancel Culture Panic
Thom Hartmann
How Billionaires Get Away With Their Big Con
REZA FIYOUZAT
Your 19th COVID Breakdown
Danny Sjursen
Undercover Patriots: Trump, Tulsa, and the Rise of Military Dissent
Charles McKelvey
The Limitations of the New Antiracist Movement
Binoy Kampmark
Netanyahu’s Annexation Drive
Joseph G. Ramsey
An Empire in Points
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
COVID-19 Denialism is Rooted in the Settler Colonial Mindset
Ramzy Baroud
On Israel’s Bizarre Definitions: The West Bank is Already Annexed
Judith Deutsch
Handling Emergency: A Tale of Two Males
Michael Welton
Getting Back to Socialist Principles: Honneth’s Recipe
Dean Baker
Combating the Political Power of the Rich: Wealth Taxes and Seattle Election Vouchers
Jonah Raskin
Edward Sanders: Poetic Pacifist Up Next
Manuel García, Jr.
Carbon Dioxide Uptake by Vegetation After Emissions Shutoff “Now”
Heidi Peltier
The Camo Economy: How Military Contracting Hides Human Costs and Increases Inequality
Ron Jacobs
Strike!, Fifty Years and Counting
Ellen Taylor
The Dark Side of Science: Shooting Barred Owls as Scapegoats for the Ravages of Big Timber
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail