China is building a second aircraft carrier as tensions over a maritime dispute in the East and South China Seas heats up. The new aircraft carrier is reportedly being built in the port city of Dalian and will weigh about 50,000 tons. Local media reports indicate that the vessel will be constructed using only “domestic technology.”
The first Chinese aircraft carrier was the retrofitted Liaoning, a vessel made in the Ukraine. The Chinese Navy accepted delivery of the aircraft carrier during the fall of 2012. According to a People’s Daily Online report that quotes Beijing defense officials, the nation, which holds the bulk of United States’ debt, is focused on expanding its military.
China is not the only former American foe to embark on beefing up its armed forces. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to make his nation’s military the largest and most powerful in the world by 2020.
“The design and construction of the second aircraft absorbed the useful experience of research and training from the Liaoning,” Chinese Defense Ministry representative Yang Yujun said. “This led to many areas of improvements and enhancements. After relevant authorities considered all aspects of the factors, the research and development of the second aircraft carrier has started.”
The second Chinese aircraft carrier will be fueled not by nuclear-driven power but by conventional power and will be capable of transporting model J-15 natively-made planes, MSN reports.
The defense ministry spokesman also noted that the addition of aircraft carriers to the fleet of the Chinese Navy is due to the expansive coast line and “vast maritime area” under the nation’s jurisdiction. Yujun said that safeguarding the sovereignty of the nations, along with its “interests and rights,” is a paramount concern of the government.
The East and South China Seas dispute has been ongoing for quite some time. Tensions between China and the leaders of both the Philippines and Japan stem from maritime territorial disputes of a series of artificial islands. Concerns about an armed conflict occurring between the nations reached a near-fever pitch as rumors about a second Chinese aircraft carrier were confirmed by military officials.
Government leaders in Beijing claim that the strategically-placed artificial islands in the disputed waters belong to China. The country lays claim to the bulk of the waters and coastlines in the South China Sea. Defense ministry officials have expressed concerns that the artificial islands could be developed into military hosting facilities, or bases, by its neighbors.
The mounting tensions in the South and East China Seas and rumors about a second aircraft carrier being built have not gone unnoticed by U.S. military officials. Over the course of the past several months, both American planes and vessels have made appearances in the region. The flights and cruises were reportedly conducted to highlight the international “rights to freedom of navigation” in the region, the Daily Mail notes.
“International seas and airspace belong to everyone and are not the dominion of any single nation,” U.S. Admiral Harry Harris stated during a meeting at the Stanford Center at Peking University in November. “Our military will continue to fly, sail, and operate whenever and wherever international law allows. The South China Sea is not — and will not — be an exception.”
What do you think about China building a second aircraft carrier? Could tensions in the South China Sea boil over and prompt World War 3?
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