By Invitation

Behind China's carrier ambitions

Beijing's plans for more aircraft carriers come amid a rapid naval build-up. But these hulks are vulnerable too, and raises the question as to what their ultimate purpose really is.

While the world fixates on the fluctuating prospects for a US-China trade war, a Trump-Kim summit or the Iran nuclear deal, Beijing has been working diligently away, steadily asserting its growing maritime power in East Asia.

Just last week, China sent long-range bombers to a base in the Paracels, and before that, for the first time, it reportedly deployed anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles on several of its new and highly contentious island bases in the Spratlys.

Please or to continue reading the full article. Learn more about ST PREMIUM.

Enjoy unlimited access to ST's best work

  • Exclusive stories and features on multiple devices
  • In-depth analyses and opinion pieces
  • ePaper and award-winning multimedia content
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 26, 2018, with the headline 'Behind China's carrier ambitions'. Print Edition | Subscribe