Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

The truth about aircraft carrier

By Zhang Junshe (China Daily) Updated: 2014-01-24 07:13

Headlines like "China building second aircraft carrier" were recently splashed by some Western media outlets even after the Ministry of Defense spokesman called the speculation "inaccurate". This is nothing new. The Western media have always viewed China's defense system with suspicion.

China should ignore such tricks and continue to modernize its navy at the needed pace and decide on how many aircraft carriers it needs after taking into account all the necessary factors, including its national defense policy, strategic needs and economic capacity.

Nine countries have aircraft carriers. The United States, which has by far the largest fleet of aircraft carriers, plans to deploy six of them in the Pacific and four in the Atlantic. Russia has only one but is planning to build more, and the United Kingdom is building two Queen-Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers which could begin sea trials in 2017.

Even Italy has two aircraft carriers, and India recently bought its second from Russia, with its first indigenously built aircraft carrier being in the works. This shows that having two or more aircraft carriers is normal for a regional or global power.

China has a total coastline of 18,000 kilometers and more than 3 million square km of sea area under its jurisdiction, and as one of the five permanent members of United Nations Security Council, it has to shoulder global responsibilities. So a second aircraft carrier will not be beyond its requirement.

In fact, China needs two, if not more, aircraft carriers to strengthen its sea power and allow the People's Liberation Army Navy to better defend its sovereignty and national security.

Japan, with its rising tendency of remilitarization, already has two Hy u ga-class vessels, which the Western media call "aircraft carriers in disguise" because they can carry 20 helicopters each. Given Japan's militarist past, China and other Asian countries should especially be on guard because the Hy u ga-class vessels can be easily turned into aircraft carriers during an armed conflict.

The development of the Chinese navy, however, is not targeted at any particular country; it is aimed at strengthening China's maritime capability to defend the country against invasions from the sea. Hence, having two or more aircraft carriers will not alter China's defensive defense policy.

Previous Page 1 2 Next Page

Most Viewed Today's Top News
New type of urbanization is in the details