So – a very good discussion on Midrats yesterday that included a look at China’s maritime claims in the ECS/SCS and regional responses – which of late have seenÂ a ratcheting up of forces in the area.Â In the wake of that discussion, I came across the illustration below: Â Â
of a cover for a magazine highlighting the J-31 light(er) weight stealth fighter prototype. Now, one expects prototypes to be posed in a variety of action settings that provide at tleast the illusion of capabiltiy. But there was something else (well two actually) that caught my eye.Â The first (circled) is the presence of the Liaoning, the PLA Navy’s first carrier.Â China was very careful to emphasize to other nations in the region that the mission of the CV wasÂ directed towards training and exploringÂ flight operations at sea – in a purely “defensive” manner.Â Â Recently that mask has slipped a bit as senior officials allowed as how it might have a more prominent combat role.
But there was something else — the islands in the background seemed familiar and of course, voila:
Behold the Senkaku islands - the locus of heightened activity between the militaries and civilian maritime administration fleets of China and Japan (among others).Â Nothing like including a pretty clear image of territory under diputeÂ and defended by your new carrier and stealth fighter/bomber (incidently, launching an ASCM — looks like a C704) to signal intent now is there? Reminds me of something similar a few years back… oh yeah: