New Delhi, December 07, 2018: China plans to operate five aircraft carriers in the near future, including two nuclear-powered ones that would be launched around 2025, according to Chinese military experts.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy will have five aircraft carriers in the near future, country’s officials media reported, adding that country’s third aircraft carrier is currently being built in Shanghai.
China will develop two nuclear-powered carriers, Wang told the daily.
Reacting to the reports, Song said that Japan’s move means a fundamental change in the vessels rather than a simple boost to their combat capabilities.
“The China threat theory is merely an excuse for Japan to do what it wants,” Song said.
Officials say the rapid acquisition of aircraft carriers by China is of concerns to India too, as the Indian Navy, which is operating aircraft carriers since 1961, is currently operating only INS Vikaramaditya. The home-made INS Vikrant expected to launch sea trials in 2020.
China is in a hurry to acquire the aircraft carriers as it rapidly expanded the navy coupled with the acquisition of naval bases aboard to back up its growing influence abroad, especially in the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea (SCS).
China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan in the South China Sea, and with Japan in the East China Sea. Both the areas are stated to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources. They are also vital to global trade.
The US has been conducting regular patrols in the South China Sea to assert freedom of navigation in the area where Beijing has built up and militarised many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region.
It has already operationalised its base at Djibouti in the Indian Ocean and acquired Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port on a debt swap. China is developing the Pakistan’s deep water Gwadar port in the Arabian Sea.
Early this month, China clinched a deal to build a multi-billion dollar port at the strategically important Kyaukpyu in Myanmar, located in the Bay of Bengal.