What if China had never gone through with the purchase of Varyag, the ex-Soviet Ukrainian aircraft carrier that later became Liaoning?
In 1998, a Chinese businessman bought the incomplete hulk of a Soviet aircraft carrier. Fourteen years later that hulk became Liaoning, the first fleet carrier of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). Thus did China’s navy become the blue water force it had long aspired to be.
But much could have gone wrong during this process. What if China had never acquired Varyag? What would China’s blue water navy look like today?