China has the economic and technological capacities to build its own aircraft carrier, a senior Chinese navy official told reporters on Monday.
"China has the ability of building an aircraft carrier," said Wu Huayang, deputy political commissar of the Navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army. Wu is also a deputy to the second session of the 11th National People's Congress, or China's parliament.
According to Wu, building an aircraft carrier is the will of the people and is necessary for the development of our navy, as well as being a symbol of China's position in the world.
Wu believes that China already possesses the economic and technological power required for building an aircraft carrier after many years of development.
However, Wu refused to disclose when China will have an aircraft carrier. "We won't necessarily focus on the schedule of building the aircraft carrier," he said. "What is important is that we have the determination we can build an aircraft carrier in the not too distant future."
Vice Admiral and former commander of the navy's Donghai fleet, Zhao Guojun, last Tuesday also said he believed China will build an aircraft carrier sooner or later.
Last December, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense said that China will "seriously consider" building aircraft carriers to protect its vast maritime territory.
According to the countries white paper on national defense last year, the Navy still follows an offshore defense strategy, and "the Navy takes informationization as the orientation and strategic priority of its modernization drive."
China sent its naval ships to patrol pirate-menaced seas off the Somali coast in December 2008, an operation which the media called China's biggest naval expedition since the 15th century.
Many of China's neighboring countries like Russia, India and Thailand have their own aircraft carriers, while some of Japan's navy vessels can perform as aircraft carriers at a sub standard level, according to a report from Xinhua. South Korea also has a 13,000 ton light aircraft carrier which was named after "Dokdo", a group of controversial islets claimed by both Japan and South Korea.