Last weekend, China's Defense Ministry released video and pictures of a Chinese J-15 fighter jet taking off and landing from its aircraft carrier, the Liaoning.
The news marks a significant milestone for China 14 years after it acquired the unfinished carrier from the Ukraine, 18 months after its first sea trials and two months after its commissioning into the People's Liberation Army Navy. Though significant work lies ahead to make the Liaoning combat operational, the commencement of carrier-based, fixed-wing flight operations puts China in elite company, with only five other nations with these current capabilities – The U.S., Russia, France, India and Brazil.
This comes during a time of increasing concern among China's neighbors in the Pacific, many of which remain embroiled in territorial disputes with China over the long-term regional intentions of the People's Liberation Army and the Chinese Communist Party. This week, Congressman Forbes moderated an important discussion at the Foreign Policy Initiative entitled, "All Eyes on Asia: Perspectives From Our Allies" between representatives of several nations in the region on their security concerns and the re-rise of China.
Additionally, click here to read about Congressman Forbes' work as Chairman and founder of the Congressional China Caucus, whose primary mission is to investigate and educate its members on the emergence of China's global reach and the consequences of its growing international, economic, and political influence on U.S. interests.
Question of the week: Given China's growing military capabilities, do you consider China….
( ) a partner of the United States
( ) friendly, but not a partner of the United States
( ) a competitor to the United States
( ) an adversary to the United States
( ) I don't know
( ) Other
Take the poll here.
Find out the results of last week's instapoll here.
Find out the results of my instapoll about the "Fiscal Cliff" here.
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