China sets global naval role after launch of aircraft carrier

China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier is seen during its launching ceremony in Dalian, Liaoning province, China, April 26, 2017. Reuters/Stringer

 

Vessel was launched on Wednesday amid rising tension over North Korea and regional worries about Beijing’s assertiveness in the South China Sea.

China launched the carrier on Wednesday amid rising tension over North Korea and regional worries about Beijing’s assertiveness in the South China Sea and its broader military modernisation programme.

Speaking during a visit to Germany, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Chinese business and citizens had spread all around the world, with millions of people living overseas and nearly 30,000 Chinese-funded businesses registered in other countries.

“Under this new environment, China has ample reason to raise its own national defense capability to effectively protect its fair rights that are increasingly extending overseas,” Wang said in response to a question on the new carrier, according to a statement on the ministry’s website on Thursday.

China’s navy has been taking an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a new admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and new warships appearing in far-flung places.

Little has been known, however, about China’s domestic aircraft carrier programme, which is a state secret. China also does not give a spending breakdown for its defence budget.

The influential state-run tabloid the Global Times said the launch represented a “milestone” in military development.

“Having a domestically built aircraft carrier is also inspirational. China is taking concrete steps to be a first-rate power,” it said in an editorial.

Full article: China sets global naval role after launch of aircraft carrier (Asia Times)

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