FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day April 26 through 28, 2017

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China Launches New Aircraft Carrier

As mentioned in the last edition of FOD, China was ready and has now launched their first domestically designed and built aircraft carrier on Wednesday, April 26th   The launch came three days after the 68th anniversary of the Peoples’ Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) at a shipyard in the port of Dalian, in the northeastern Liaoning province.  It’s conventionally powered with steam catapults and a 12° ski jump take-off ramp and four arresting gear wires.  The Type 001A carrier has not yet been named.  Maybe there’s a mail-in contest for the name, like the Pandas. Their next carrier, the Type 002, is expected to launch in 2021.  Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr., USN, the Commander, United States Pacific Command (USPACOM), who testified before Congress on April 27th, believes China intends to challenge free access to the South China Sea. “In my opinion China is clearly militarizing the South China Sea,” Harris told the Senate Armed Services Committee in February 2016. “You’d have to believe in a flat earth to believe otherwise.”  “China is creating a great wall of sand, with dredges and bulldozers, over the course of months,” Harris told the audience at a conference in Australia. “When one looks at China’s pattern of provocative actions towards smaller claimant states — the lack of clarity on its sweeping nine-dash line claim that is inconsistent with international law and the deep asymmetry between China’s capabilities and those of its smaller neighbors — well, it’s no surprise that the scope and pace of building man-made islands raise serious questions about Chinese intentions.” ADM Harris is a 1978 graduate of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. Harris is the U.S. Navy’s current “Old Goat” – the longest-serving Naval Academy graduate on active duty. He is also the Navy’s current “Gray Owl” – the Naval Flight Officer on active duty who has held this designation the longest period. Harris took command of USPACOM on May 27, 2015.  “We are obliged to defend South Korea by a treaty,” Adm. Harry Harris, head of U.S. Pacific Command, told lawmakers just today April 27, 2017. “They have a very strong and capable military, as we do. But if we’re going to defend them or if we’re going to fight with them on the peninsula then we have to be able to integrate with their military, we have to be able to work with their military, we have to understand their military and vice versa.” China believes the exercises destabilize the situation with North Korea and that if the U.S. curtailed them the Kim Jong-Un regime might agree to deescalate. But Harris said the exercises should continue so the U.S. can fulfill its treaty obligations.

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