Last Sunday, China successfully conducted the first test flights of carrier-based fighter planes launched from its first aircraft carrier. So far experts hesitate to forecast when the Chinese 'shock' air-force unit will begin operations. However, in the opinion of Konstantin Sivkov, first vice-president of the Academy of Geopolitical Studies, Washington has already detected a threat to its presence in the Asia-Pacific region, in the form of China's first aircraft carrier:
Currently, China is showing special activity there. And if in the past its influence was economic and demographic, it is now prepared to interfere relying on military power. China has built an aircraft carrier based on the former Soviet carrier Varyag. This naturally gives it more military power when necessary. Especially given that the construction of four new carriers has begun.
Konstantin Sivkov believes that the five Chinese aircraft carriers represent China's response to the US strategy of escalating its own military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. Beijing's upgrading of its military presence coincides with the Pentagon's deployment of up to 60% of its offensive naval capacity in the region. Today, no fewer than two US aircraft carrier squadrons are stationed in the Pacific and Indian oceans. They participate on a regular basis in joint naval exercises with South Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Australia.
The geopolitical standoff epicentre is moving to the Asia-Pacific as both the USA and China view that region as vital to their interests, says Vladimir Yevseev, director of the Center for Socio-Political Studies:
Currently, a global system to contain China is taking shape. This is the reason behind the US and Australia setting up a powerful naval and air force base. Apparently, the US presence in the Philippines will be strengthened as well. The USA does everything it can to get closer to China. For that purpose apparently, it will escalate its military presence in other countries as well. In general, from Australia to Alaska, a missile defence arc is being built.
According to experts, the missile defence system in Asia is intended to nullify the escalation of China's missile potential. The appearance of Chinese aircraft carriers will inevitably prompt changes to America's surveillance system for monitoring the Chinese Navy. Today China, in its military talks with the USA, absolutely insists that US intelligence activity in the Pacific region must stop.
Recently, in Beijing the US Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, promised not to interfere in China's disputes with its neighbours. Victoria Nuland's statement about the USA's readiness to support its allies in Asia, against the background of China's escalating military power appears, in fact, to run against those promises made by the Pentagon chief.