Author: Wang Lei
Posted on: CGTN | March 5th, 2017
China needs more than two aircraft carriers, but will never build 12 such warships like the United States, said Chen Zhou, deputy to China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) and a researcher at the PLA Academy of Military Science, the country’s top military institute.
“The construction of aircraft carriers is a landmark in China’s naval development,” Chen told Global Times on Saturday on the sidelines of the annual Two Sessions – the fifth session of the 12th NPC, China’s legislature, and the fifth session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country’s top advisory body.
According to Chen, exercises and training of China’s first aircraft carrier Liaoning have achieved “very good results” and the building of the country’s second aircraft carrier is “progressing smoothly.”
“The number of aircraft carrier formations that China will need in the future depends ultimately on the need of our national strategy and military strategy,” Chen said. “But we certainly need more than the Liaoning or the second aircraft carrier. We need to build aircraft carrier formations as well.”
“However, what we are sure about is that we will absolutely not build 12 formations of aircraft carriers like the US,” he added. “It’s not necessary for China.”
The country’s first aircraft carrier, The Liaoning, is a Soviet-era ship bought from Ukraine and refurbished by Beijing. It entered service in 2012. Meanwhile, China’s first homemade aircraft carrier, known as Type 001A, is under construction and reportedly near completion.
Chen explained that China pursues a national defense policy — which is purely defensive in nature, and a road of peaceful development.
Last year, the country’s defense budget rose by 7.6 percent to 954 billion yuan (about 138 billion US dollars), breaking a multi-year run of double-digit increases. It will expand by about seven percent this year, according to Fu Ying, spokesperson for the fifth session of the 12th NPC.
Fu also noted that China’s defense spending accounts for only about 1.3 percent of the country’s GDP, compared with NATO members’ pledge to dedicate at least two percent of GDP to defense.
In 2017, China will strengthen its maritime and air defense as well as border controls as part of efforts to safeguard its sovereignty and security, said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang while delivering a government work report at the opening meeting of the fifth session of the 12th NPC on Sunday.
The growth of China’s defense budget this year is mainly aimed at supporting defense and military reforms, accelerating the upgrade of equipment, improving training and living conditions of grassroots units, increasing investments in cultivating high quality military talents and intensifying military-civilian integration, said Chen.
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