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History speaks loudly in Asia. Heads up, Taiwan!
There are also tactical limitations that render carriers somewhat obsolete against major powers. China is well aware of this: it is currently developing an anti-ship ballistic missile that could threaten U.S. carriers.
Senior U.S. and Asian naval officers “regard the [Chinese] carrier as a manageable threat,” writes Douglas H. Paal, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, formerly the unofficial U.S. ambassador to Taiwan (unofficial because Beijing prevents the U.S. from officially recognizing the island’s government).
“Some [military experts] joke that they hope China will acquire five more battle groups and waste even more money that could go into other, more threatening systems,” Paal writes.
Taiwan, which appears to be most immediately in China’s crosshairs, is not taking any chances. Next year, its military will begin building 10 stealth warships armed with guided missiles, to prepare for the threat from the Chinese carrier, Defense News reports.
"The defense ministry has been closely monitoring the construction of [the aircraft carrier], so of course we are abreast of all the latest developments and the carrier's potential threat to the Republic of China [on Taiwan]," said defense ministry spokesman Lo Shau-ho, according to Radio Tawian International. "We have carefully devised strategies as a response, but as they are military secrets I'm afraid I cannot give you any details."
Other Asian militaries will likely choose to bulk up their own defenses against their huge neighbor’s more mobile air power. The only other option would be to rely for defense on China’s biggest debtor: the U.S.
Follow writer David Case on Twitter: @DavidCaseReport