Taipei, Aug. 11 (CNA) The launch of China's first aircraft carrier will be more important symbolically than substantively, a Taiwanese lawmaker said Saturday.
The first Chinese aircraft carrier is likely to be incorporated into the People's Liberation Army's naval fleets on China's National Day Oct. 1, the South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong-based English daily, reported recently, citing a Chinese naval research fellow.
Ruling Kuomintang Legislator Lin Yu-fang said even if the report is true, the aircraft carrier's commissioning would be mainly symbolic because there have been no trial aircraft takeoffs or landings on the carrier.
Moreover, Lin said, an aircraft carrier battle group must be composed of destroyers, submarines and other warships.
"An aircraft carrier cannot function alone and it takes time for an aircraft carrier battle group to truly acquire combat power or capability," Lin said.
Furthermore, he said, warships in an aircraft carrier battle group must be able to communicate quickly and effectively.
"China still has a long way to go in this regard," he said.
In his view, Lin said, the launch of China's first aircraft carrier would symbolize its entry into a small group of countries with such a warship and enhance its deterrent power in the South China Sea.
China's first aircraft carrier was transformed from a former Soviet carrier, "Varyag." China reportedly bought the carrier from Ukraine in 1998 for US$20 million.
(By Emmanuelle Tzeng and Sofia Wu)