Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun on Thursday dismissed foreign media reports that said China is building a second aircraft carrier in Shanghai and that it will be launched late this year.
“Such reports are inaccurate,” Yang said at a regular news briefing.
Yang said China will plan the development of aircraft carriers in an all-round way, taking its national economic and social development and the needs of national defense and military construction into account.
The first carrier, beginning its service in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, is a milestone in our military history and a major achievement of our navy building, Yang said.
“But this is only the first step of our aircraft carrier development. We still have a long way to go,” he said.
When asked to confirm reports that the Chinese navy will create an aircraft carrier formation in the future and build an aircraft carrier base in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao, Yang said “the formation is generally made up of the aircraft carrier itself, escort vessels, submarines and aircraft. China will study the issue in accordance with the development and real needs of the aircraft carrier.”
China’s first aircraft carrier, delivered and commissioned to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy on Tuesday, will be used to conduct scientific experiments and military training, Yang said.
As for the aircraft carrier’s impact on China’s surrounding areas, Yang stressed that the country adheres to the path of peaceful development, independent foreign policy and pursues a defensive national policy. He added that the development of the aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, is to protect national security.
Responding to doubts about the self-innovation in the development of the aircraft carrier, Yang said Chinese military’s weaponry building has always adhered to the principle of independent innovation, relying on the country’s own capacity for research and development.
The main system of Liaoning is the result of independent building and modification. The carrier borne aircraft is also developed by ourselves based on domestically built planes, for which we have independent intellectual property rights and is pushing forward with relevant procedures as scheduled, he said.
China has taken into consideration the need of national security and economic conditions when developing weaponry equipment. The development of the first aircraft carrier is also included in the defense budget, Yang said.
“We have strict regulations about the naming and hull numbers of naval vessels, as they are authorized by the Central Military Commission,” Yang said.