China intends to beef up its maritime presence by building a second aircraft carrier. Beijing wants to exert its presence in the South China Sea, after complaining of “provocations” from the US, as well as defending its interests in the region.
Little is known about China’s aircraft carrier program, however a spokesman for the Defense Ministry, Yang Yujun, said the ship had been designed in China and was being built in the port of Dalian.
“China has a long coastline 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,” Yang said, as cited by Reuters.
The Defense Ministry spokesman added that the aircraft carrier will be able to operate J-15 fighter jets and will also have a ski-jump take-off. China’s only other aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, was purchased from Ukraine in 1998 before being refitted in China.
China has been looking to increase its maritime defense capabilities, as it exerts its claims in the South China Sea.
“The US has many aircraft carriers that are traveling all over the place in the South China Sea, which have caused problems for us. Having a second aircraft carrier reduces the pressure on us. It will keep us from being bullied,” a Shanghai-based naval expert, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, told Reuters.
Read more: RT.com