China’s military could begin testing its first aircraft carrier within the next few weeks, Reuters reported, citing state media sources. The Varyag, a retrofitted aircraft carrier purchased from Ukraine in 1998, “will begin initial sea trials probably either late this month, in early August or later in the year,” state media said. The rumors follow a report released this week by the World Security Institute, a Washington, DC-based think tank, arguing that China’s satellite surveillance capabilities are approaching that of the US. Reports of China’s military advances come as US Admiral Mike Mullen, the top US military official, is visiting his Chinese counterpart, Chen Bingde. The two publicly sparred this week about Chinese territorial ambitions in the South China Sea and US naval exercises with Southeast Asian nations.