China’s Latest Military Endeavor Will Put It In An Exclusive Club

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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The Chinese Defense Ministry announced Thursday that it is in the process of building its second aircraft carrier, making China the fourth country to have multiple active aircraft carriers — joining India, Italy and the U.S.

Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told media that the new carrier is a Chinese design and will be built in the port city of Dalian. Once complete, the ship will be first domestically built aircraft carrier in the Chinese navy. Yujun did not specify a completion date for the ship.

“China has a long coast line and a vast maritime area under our jurisdiction. To safeguard our maritime sovereignty, interests and rights is the sacred mission of the Chinese armed forces,” said Yang, according to a Reuters report.

The new ship’s blueprint is based on China’s current aircraft carrier, the Liaoning. The new ship will have a displacement of approximately 50,000 tons, which is 10,000 less than the Liaoning. Originally a Soviet-era Kuznetsov class ship called the Varyag, China purchased the Liaoning in 1998 and refitted it in 2012.

The Defense Ministry’s announcement comes as China continues to assert itself in the South China sea. Several man-made islands have been created in the area, allowing the Chinese military to create new staging areas and secure what is thought to be a trove of natural gas and oil lying beneath the sea.

A recent Department of Defense report has stated that China “could build multiple aircraft carriers over the next 15 years.”

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