In show of power, China lands first jet on aircraft carrier
On Sunday, China landed a jet on its aircraft carrier for the first time. The vessel only recently came into service, and is part of a initiative to boost military spending.
China¬†has carried out its first successful landing of a fighter jet on its first aircraft carrier, state media said on Sunday, a symbolically significant development as Asian neighbours fret about the world's most populous country's military ambitions.
China¬†ushered in a new generation of leaders this month at the 18th¬†Communist Party Congress¬†in¬†Beijing, with outgoing President¬†Hu Jintao¬†making a pointed reference to strengthening¬†China's naval forces, protecting maritime interests and the need to "win local war."
China¬†is embroiled in disputes with the¬†Philippines¬†and¬†Vietnam¬†over¬†South China¬†Sea islands believed to be surrounded by waters rich in natural gas. It has a similar dispute with¬†Japan¬†over islands in the¬†East China¬†Sea.
"We should make active planning for the use of military forces in peacetime, expand and intensify military preparedness, and enhance the capability to accomplish a wide range of military tasks, the most important of which is to win local war in an information age," Hu said.
China¬†has advertised its long-term military ambitions with shows of new hardware, including its first test flight of a stealth fighter jet in early 2011, an elite helicopter unit and the launch of the aircraft carrier.
China¬†is boosting military spending by 11.2 percent this year, bringing official outlays on the People's¬†Liberation Army¬†to 670.3 billion yuan ($100 billion) for 2012, after a 12.7 percent increase last year and a near-unbroken string of double-digit rises across two decades.
Beijing's public budget is widely thought by foreign experts to undercount its real spending on military modernisation, which has drawn repeated calls from the¬†United States¬†for¬†China¬†to share more about its intentions.
China's state-run Xinhua news portal said the J-15 - which can carry multi-type anti-ship, air-to-air, and air-to-ground missiles - is comparable to the Russian¬†Su-33¬†jet and the U.S. F-18. It did not say when the landing on the carrier took place.