A Chinese Army publication says China's first aircraft carrier has a military purpose after all, though only to deal with territorial disputes. The claim is markedly different from the Chinese Defense Ministry's, which has said the carrier is meant for "scientific research and training" and would take more than a decade to become combat ready.
The Chinese government is apparently mindful that neighboring countries see the carrier,which was remodeled from an old Soviet Varyag, as a boost to China's muscle in the region but seems unsure how to placate them.
Guo Jianyue of the People's Liberation Army Daily, in an online article Thursday, said, "Why did we build it if we don't have the courage and willingness to use the aircraft carrier to handle territorial disputes? It is reasonable to use it or other warships to handle disputes if there is a need." China is involved in territorial disputes with Japan, Vietnam and other countries in the South China and East China seas.