President Xi Jinping has vowed to overhaul and modernize China’s armed forces – the world’s largest – and is seeking to project his power beyond China’s shores, despite promises that he has no hostile intentions
Image: CCTV/AFP via Getty Images)
China has launched a giant aircraft carrier, rivaled only by US ships, in a statement of intent to its rivals while modernizing its military.
President Xi Jinping has made overhauling the world’s largest armed forces a central part of his agenda and is seeking to project power well beyond China’s shores, though the government says it has no hostile intentions.
Champagne, colorful ribbons, water cannons and smoke were used to celebrate the aircraft carrier’s launch and official naming at a ceremony at Shanghai’s Jiangnan Shipyard, state media reported.
Dozens of Navy personnel lined up in front of the ship and sang the national anthem at the ceremony, which was attended by senior officials including Xu Qiliang, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission.
According to state media, the aircraft carrier has a full-length flight deck with a catapult launch system.
The Fujian will join the Shandong, which entered service at the end of 2019, and the Liaoning, which China bought second-hand from Ukraine in 1998 and converted domestically.
China is still refining its ability to operate the carriers and integrate them into battle groups, somewhat like the United
States has been doing this for decades.
Only the United States has more ships with 11 aircraft carriers.
The launch of the Fujian demonstrates the increasing capability of the military at a time of rising tensions with the United States over China-claimed Taiwan and Beijing’s claims to the South China Sea.
CCTV/AFP via Getty Images)
Located directly across the Taiwan Strait, the coastal province of Fujian is home to the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command.
Taiwan is a thriving democracy, but China regards the island as its own territory and has never refrained from using force to gain control.
A senior Taiwanese official familiar with the island’s security planning told Reuters that the region’s new airline is signaling China’s intentions to project its power far into the Pacific.
“In the future, they plan to advance directly east of the first island chain, which includes Japan’s Ryukyu Islands and the Pacific waters off Taiwan’s east,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
“Any regional cooperation is viewed by Beijing as interference in the Taiwan issue or as a challenge to China. The launch of the new airline is a defiant statement.”
Taiwan has modernized its own armed forces, including the commissioning of a new class of highly agile stealth warships, which Taiwan has dubbed “aircraft carrier killers” because of its missile armamentarium.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry, in a statement sent to Reuters about the new airline, said it attaches “great importance” to China’s military developments and “proactively incorporates them into enemy situation research.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/china-launches-enormous-aircraft-carrier-27262136 China launches ENORMOUS aircraft carriers to compete with US Navy in 'defiant statement' - World News