The Chinese navy is about to unveil next week new buildings, including several nuclear-powered submarines and destroyers, during a maritime parade marking the 70th anniversary of its creation.
Deputy Navy Commander Qiu Yanpeng, who was speaking to the press in Qingdao port south of Beijing on Saturday, said the Liaoning aircraft carrier would be associated with the demonstration scheduled for Tuesday.
Purchased in 1998 from the Ukrainian Navy and modernized in China, Liaoning is the first aircraft carrier whose Chinese navy has been equipped.
A second aircraft carrier, designed and manufactured entirely Chinese, came out of the Dalian shipyards and was put to sea at the end of April 2017. Its sea trials began almost a year ago.
This “100% Made in China”, classically propelled building, whose construction began in 2013, is not expected to come into service until 2020. The Chinese Navy did not say whether it would participate in Tuesday’s ceremonies.
Long confined to coastal operations, the Chinese navy saw its importance grow against the background of rising Chinese power and geopolitical tensions in the South China Sea, which imply enhanced projection capabilities.
Beijing, which defends itself from all aggressive stance, claims possession of almost all of the South China Sea, whose funds contain vast quantities of oil and gas and is a major commercial shipping route. His ambitions run up against those of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
“A strong navy is essential to building a strong maritime nation,” Qiu said Saturday in Qingdao. “From 1840 to 1949, China was invaded more than 470 times by foreign powers from the sea at the cost of immense suffering and deep wounds inflicted upon the Chinese nation.”
Military spending is expected to grow by 7.5 percent this year, slower than last year but above China’s GDP growth target.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is leading the modernization of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), may attend Tuesday’s maritime parade, although the Chinese authorities have not confirmed his presence.