China upgrades its carrier and pushes its ocean claims – China’s latest political and current affairs news

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A summary of the top news in Chinese politics and current affairs for November 1, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.


China has made a “breakthrough” in its naval jet launch system, enhancing the efficiency of the Type 002, the country’s newest homegrown aircraft carrier, the South China Morning Post reports.

  • A naval engineering team “developed a medium-voltage, direct-current transmission network to replace an earlier system based on alternating current” so that the conventionally powered Type 002 could be equipped with an electromagnetic aircraft launch system.
  • The system “would mean less wear and tear on the planes and allow more aircraft to be launched in a shorter time than the ski and steam-catapult systems.”
  • Other naval powers such as the United States have nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, so they face a different set of technological challenges, but China has been seeking to make the best use of its conventionally powered ships. Several military sources also boasted to the SCMP that the technology surpassed the jet launch technology of some U.S. aircraft carriers.
  • An expert in military technology told the SCMP that the new technology could in the future also be used to launch missiles and satellites.

Meanwhile, China has continued to expand its military footprint in the ocean south and east of its mainland:

  • Military Times reports that “China has practiced bombing runs targeting the U.S. territory of Guam,” part of a “daily, aggressive campaign to contest airspace over the East China Sea, South China Sea and beyond.” Officials also said that U.S.-Chinese aircraft intercepts are broadly increasing.
  • Reuters analyzed satellite photos that revealed “China continuing to develop facilities on North and Tree Islands in the contested Paracel Islands,” and also reported that some military and security experts “expect China to land its first deployments of jet fighters onto its runways in the Spratly Islands in coming months.”