China is building a second aircraft carrier, with the new ship being designed and constructed domestically, the Defense Ministry said, marking the first time the government has confirmed the long-rumored project.
The vessel is being built in the northern port of Dalian and will carry Chinese-made J-15 fighter jets, the ministry said on its website, citing spokesman Col. Yang Yujun. The ship will have a displacement of approximately 50,000 tons, Yang said. The country’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, was commissioned in 2012 and built in a hull purchased from the Ukraine.
China has been expanding its naval prowess as the word’s second-biggest economy extends its economic clout throughout Asia and beyond.China has largely kept the carrier program secret, partly to allay concerns about its ability to test the dominance of the U.S. Navy, which has upheld Asian maritime security since World War II. The Pentagon said in May that China “could build multiple aircraft carriers over the next 15 years.”
"We have long coastlines and vast waters under our jurisdiction, and it is the sacred duty of Chinese forces to protect the nation’s marine safety -- to defend territorial sovereignty as well as the maritime rights," Yang said in the statement.
— With assistance by Keith Zhai